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These guys deserve some credit

Posted Oct 10, 2017

Aaron Jones' breakout gives opponents one more weapon to plan for


Randy from Colleyville, TX

It was great to meet you at the Dallas pep rally, and I appreciate you taking the time to visit. On my question last week where I asked about trading for Adrian Peterson, I humbly accept your STOP answer as it appears we have another up-and-coming rookie in addition to our injured Ty and Jamaal in rotation. Thanks for the insight.

It was wonderful to meet you, Randy, and now you see why I wasn’t riding the “Trade for Peterson” bus. That’s nothing against the future Hall of Famer, but I like the approach the Packers took in going young in the backfield. All three of those guys have their best years ahead of them. Nothing Aaron Jones did surprised me Sunday. He’s showed that explosiveness all summer. He gives Green Bay another intriguing option in that backfield. 

Robert from Bear, DE

Greatness. Greatness. All-time Packer history greatness, that is what we are witnessing in Rodgers, and Bart Starr is my favorite player for his brains. Listening to Rodgers, was he calling the plays on the last drive? The first play sets up the cornerback for the last two. The repeat play to Adams to win. I saw the glory years, and the years of drought. Appreciate the greatness of 12.

He is the best to ever do it in my opinion. He’s the perfect storm. Rodgers has the arm, the accuracy and that athleticism. He’s the most talented quarterback to ever play the position, the total package.

Ben from Rochester, NY

Just a comment on our three tight ends. Five catches for 93 yards and each with an average per catch in double digits. Love watching those big dudes play ball.

These tight ends deserve some credit. Coincidentally, all five of those catches you mentioned came on scoring drives. Bennett’s 33-yard catch was a thing of beauty, Kendricks’ 24-yarder helped set up Davante Adams’ first touchdown and Richard Rodgers made a terrific play on that 16-yard pass from Rodgers in the second quarter.

Glen from Eugene, OR

Bennett is a very large human being. I caught myself yelling "Run him over man, you're bigger than he is" after each of his catches.

Seeing Bennett charging downfield is a scary proposition for a secondary. It’s also a reminder of how difficult it can be to tackle a 6-foot-6, 275-pound athlete.

Dave from Savage, MN

My two favorite thoughts from the game: 1) Football is for tough guys after seeing Davante Adams play so well after that hit; 2) Can you imagine what Aaron Jones' family was going through sitting in the stands during the game?

What impressed me the most was how fearless Adams played in his first game back after that vicious blow against Chicago. I can’t say I would’ve had the mental toughness to do that. After clearing the concussion protocol, he jumped right back in there and did what he does best – make plays. Jones said he had a lot of family there. It must have been an incredible night for them.

Bob from Racine, WI

Where was Allison as a receiver Sunday? Didn't see or hear his name called.

Then you missed a heck of a block on Jones’ 15-yard carry during the game-winning drive.

Jason from Winnipeg, Manitoba

Do you think with the Vikings game coming up and Aaron Jones’ big game will that make the Vikings prepare differently?

It definitely gives the Vikings and the rest of the NFL one more weapon to prepare for in the film room.

Tom from San Juan Capistrano, CA

When Ty Montgomery returns do you envision some creative two-back sets with him and Jones? Seems like the defense would have to account for Monty in multiple roles including splitting out, screen passes, or more power-based running.

I wouldn’t count on it. The Packers haven’t used many pro-set formations during McCarthy’s time as head coach. The closest they come to two-back sets is when Aaron Ripkowski serves as the lead-blocker in I-form. Don’t get me wrong, both Jones and Montgomery are dynamic, but that typically hasn’t been Green Bay’s thing.

Ashley from Dickinson, TX

Love the column guys! Blake Martinez has looked fantastic so far this season. What do you think his most impressive play has been to date?

There are so many to choose from, but I thought his tackle for a loss of Joe Mixon on the first play of overtime against Cincinnati was a game-changer. We hear Aaron Rodgers talk so often about how important that first play is. Martinez threw water on the Bengals’ fire with that play.

David from Phillips, WI

Just one question, on Dallas' final drive they were called for holding on a second-and-5. They were only penalized five yards, to make it second-and-10. I guess the question is why it was just a 5-yard penalty versus 10.

It was only a 5-yard penalty because the hold occurred after Elliott had already gained five yards. The yardage is marked off from the spot of the foul.

Dave from Hartland, WI

Jordy Nelson sat out the last drive. Is he going to be cleared to play this next week?

McCarthy reiterated Monday that Nelson was getting evaluated. He didn’t go any further detail, but said reports indicating a hamstring injury were inaccurate. We’ll see what the injury report reads Wednesday.

Perry from Carrollton, GA

Ted Thompson has said in the last seven years he was going to draft more offensive linemen to protect Aaron Rodgers. Where are they? He is running for his life and he is taking way too many hits.

Well, three of them are on injured reserve, Bryan Bulaga is battling through an ankle injury, and David Bakhtiari is working his way back from the hamstring injury he sustained in the opener. I don’t know what more the Packers could’ve done to prepare for an onslaught like that. Also, scrambling is a part of Rodgers’ game.

David from Chestertown, MD

What a testament to Ted Thompson that this Packers squad is deep enough in talent to have a 4-1 record at this point. I have listened to so many TT detractors in the Insider Inbox that it has made me ill to witness their lack of football IQ for how lucky the Pack is to have him as GM. Thanks Ted!

I guess some people get it.

Tes from Dayton, OH

Just how smart is Aaron Rodgers? The guy blows me away in his postgame press conferences with details from specific plays and even past years (Miami 2014, for example).

His mind is a wonder. The guy knows everything there is to know about the game of football. I’d be fascinated to read his book one day.

Bruce from Lakewood, CO

So many things went right but the cherry on the sundae for me was Jones' fabulous sideline catch to go along with gaining the tough running yards. Was there a cherry in the game for you?

Jones’ 7-yard touchdown run was football at its finest. The blocks were set up perfectly and the rookie running back showed vision and quickness with his cuts.

Ed from Henryville, IN

I'm really impressed with the performance of A1 and A3 (Aaron Rodgers is A1, Aaron Ripkowski is A2 and Aaron Jones is A3) in the backfield. I truly think when Montgomery gets healthy we can have a top-five running game. To me that's exciting. That would seriously open up the big-play potential we all know is there. Is it too early to be excited about A3?

It’s fine to get excited about rookies, but I always stress caution when it comes to building expectations.

Tom from Carolstream, IL

Whatever happened to the safety, Jones, drafted this year? He was playing great, now I don’t see him anymore.

Case in point.

Jim from Hudsonville, MI

More of an observation. So, if 1:13 was "too much time on the clock," why does it take so much longer to score throughout the rest of the game?

Because teams don’t run their two-minute no-huddle offense exclusively for 60 minutes. You can’t just take one series and ask why it isn’t always like this. Different game situations call for different personnel and scenarios. Like the discussion in Monday’s Inbox, the game really is a chess match. You’re constantly building toward something.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Rodgers’ comments right after the game seemed to indicate he called his own plays on that final drive. Is that the case, and if so is that the norm in the two-minute offense?

I don’t know how common that is, but McCarthy has talked in the past about Rodgers having a menu of plays to work off of depending on what looks the offense is getting in those late-game situations. There was masterful play-calling through the second half to get into that position.

Adam from Rochester, NY

Remember not too long ago when Inboxers and analysts said Aaron Rodgers wasn't clutch and couldn't come from behind to win?

Bulaga mentioned that after the game. Maybe we all should be paying more attention to how Rodgers propelled the Packers in the recent comebacks against Cincinnati and Dallas, myself included.

Dan from Houston, TX

The way Dak escaped pressure and converted third downs on the run in the first half had me asking, "Is this what it's like to play against Rodgers?"

I thought the same thing a few times Sunday. Prescott is a prospect. Dallas is in good hands with him at QB.

Garrett from Hudson, WI

On Dallas’ final drive, the play where Zeke stretched his arm out for the first down is bothering me. To me it’s not a dead ball like out of bounds or at the goal line, so when he tucks the ball back to his chest before the whistle blows the ball should spotted where it was at his chest. The defense didn’t push the ball back, he did it on his own. Thoughts?

I’m with you. I’m still somewhat confused by the ball placement after the “eye in the sky” review. The subjectivity of the play is probably what I had the biggest issue with, but McCarthy made a good point Monday when he said the Packers’ defenders needed to keep looking for the ball when Elliott stuck it out. You have to make him pay for exposing the ball like that.

Jordan from Laurel, MD

Anyone else take note of how much different the beginning of that game would have been, notably two big plays, if Nick Perry didn't have that club?

I did. I think at least one of them turns out differently if Perry has all 10 fingers at his disposal.

Joe from Dundee, IL

On the final play (Cowboy pass plus multiple laterals), when was the whistle blown and the play ruled dead? Was it dead when Perry had the ball but did not kneel down? I know there is a rule not allowing a "fumble forward,” so in my mind the play was still alive since Perry did not kneel down.

The whistle was finally blown after Quinten Rollins recovered Travis Frederick’s fumble. The play was still alive when Frederick knocked the ball out of Perry’s hand. There technically were three fumbles on the play.

Jonathan from Paducah, KY

On the pick-six play, I noticed Matthews wrap up Williams. At what point does something like that go from non-penalty to penalty? When does it change from no pass interference because the ball was tipped to holding on the return? I was worried about the holding call when I first saw the replay.

The referees grant players some leniency on plays where legal contact (Matthews’ hit) disrupts the catch, which is why no flag was thrown. The Packers were playing Matthews off the line of scrimmage on that play in a package mirroring a 4-3 front.

Paul from Manitowoc, WI

Where did the dead-in-the-grasp call come from when they called roughing the passer near the goal line? Take away the penalty, would that have been a sack, incomplete pass or intentional grounding?

It would’ve been a sack.

Mike from Portage, WI

Just an observation, but am I the only veteran Packers fan that found it interesting there were 16 seconds left before the Rodgers to Adams TD...the same as before Bart Starr's sneak in the Ice Bowl! Keep up the good work Mike and Wes!

You guys never cease to amaze me with your observation skills. Wow.

Cameron from Augusta, GA

Wes and Mike, I am curious if you find yourselves rating your postgame editorials based on the Insider Inbox the next couple days. Do the questions submitted reflect to you guys how well you wrapped up the game's story? So thankful for all you guys do, y’all's postgame articles are the first things I look for after a game.

There is one factor that weighs into how the Inbox looks in the days to come – whether the Packers won or lost.

Alex from Rochester, NY

This Packers offense is to be feared! Catch my drift? Or am I being obtuse?

Give him another month in the Inbox Hall of Fame to think about it.

Matt from East Lansing, MI

After five straight games of prime time/America's Game of the Week, we finally have back-to-back games with the 12/1 p.m. time slot right before the bye. Is this what McCarthy was looking for?

I can’t speak for McCarthy, but it’s definitely what I’ve been looking for.


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