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Consistency is what powers the Packers' passing game

In-game adjustments are the chess game coordinators play


Milton from Midland, MI

Hi Insiders! Will this be a classic run-the-ball and stop-the-run game? It will be fun to see Capers' new wrinkle to defend the run.

Why, hello Milton. I just felt a need to say that. That's the marquee matchup in this game – how the Packers decide to defend Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Chicago's receivers combined for one catch against the Steelers. So it's pretty easy to figure out what the point of emphasis needs to be against the Bears.

Lucas from Stevens Point, WI

Should I be excited about watching the Packers twice within a four-day span, or upset I will have to go 10 days without another game? Let's get out of this one healthy and rest up 10 days and get back at 'er! Go Pack Go!

I think you should be excited the Packers get to go 10 days without another game after tonight's contest. The past week has been an absolute grind for the team, but the long weekend is the rainbow at the end of this monsoon.

Richard from Madison, WI

I see a couple of questions about how the Packers will spend their short week, but how will they spend their LONG week after Thursday? Will they be able to take a few days off, possibly even go home?

McCarthy hasn't said what the team's plan will be for the weekend, but he typically gives the team time off. As much as we talk about injuries, a mental break is also required to rebound from this long stretch.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

The difference between Ty Montgomery and a more than 80-yard rusher per game seems to be breaking some longer runs. Have you or anyone identified what needs to happen differently to get those?

If Montgomery busts a 40-yard run on the first play against the Bears, his yards-per-run average will jump from 3.0 to 3.9. All it takes is one big play. That's the difference. If the right gap opens, his opportunity will come. The explosiveness is there. It was on display on his three catches of more than 20 yards this season.

James from Syracuse, NY

Am I the only one who thinks Trevor Davis is too timid for the punt return job? Fair-catching with a massively open field in front of him. Returning punts with 15 yards of space at the catch and the return is only two yards. What am I missing here?

Ron Zook explained on Tuesday the Cincinnati gunner tripped and fell down late on the punt, which made it appear Davis had more time and space. I haven't had an issue with his approach so far. Davis is averaging 10 yards on his seven returns so far with a long of 33. That's solid production.

Mohammed from Teaneck, NJ

Do defenses select their personnel and play after seeing who the players are in the huddle for the offense? Doesn't that put the offense at a disadvantage?

Defenses scout and prepare for different personnel packages and develop a plan accordingly. If offenses swap out personnel, defenses have the opportunity to sub in a new package and adjust. That's the chess game coordinators play every Sunday.

Michael from McCook, NE

Thinking about this upcoming rivalry game between the Pack and the Bears, it's the oldest rivalry in the league. How many of these games has Edgar Bennett participated in? Who has had the most games versus the Bears?

Excellent question and one I pondered myself as he spoke to the media Tuesday. He's been involved with the Packers-Bears rivalry for the last 25 years if you count his time as a player, director of player development and coach. That has to rank up there for most games versus Chicago in one capacity or another.

Justin from Stephenson, MI

It's going to be a long day at the office for Aaron if those new tackles don't get on the same page right away! Every year it seems one position gets decimated by injury. Looks like it's the line's turn. Hopefully Aaron stays upright and gets the W!

It's a game of challenges. There really is no good way to prepare for losing your top five offensive tackles, so you do the best you can. I thought Justin McCray has played admirably at right tackle. If David Bakhtiari can't play, Mike McCarthy and James Campen will have put together a plan and do their best with it. Like previous weeks, it's up to Rodgers to paint on the canvas put in front of him.

Karl from Fort Collins, CO

Lots of running backs drafted this year but we don't see much of them. No offensive lineman drafted to fill the losses. It is rough this year, but could next year be a disaster on the line?

You're kind of comparing apples and apricots here. Yes, the Packers drafted several running backs, but I don't think that has much to do with the situation on the offensive line. First, the Packers didn't lose any natural tackles in free agency. They returned all five guys with experience there. Like cornerback last year, I'm not sure how you prepare for that many injuries at two specific spots.

Sara from Saint Paul, MN

I attended the game this past week and had an alternative perspective on the booing heard at halftime. I don't think the booing was directed toward the team, but rather the clock. The Packers had just recovered the punt and we all rejoiced! Inside my head I envisioned being a witness to a Rodgers Hail Mary. And then my eyes fell on the clock. I let out an audible "Ugh."

I was talking specifically about the crowd's reaction to Rodgers's incomplete on third-and-14 before the two-minute warning. I don't know about the fumble. Once the clock hit zero, I was off to the little sportswriter's room.

Corey from Mooresville, NC

I understand why spread offenses are hurting QB development, but how/why does it affect the O-line?

You need two premier left tackles in today's NFL because Pro Bowl pass rushers aren't just coming off the strong side anymore. That's what makes Bryan Bulaga so valuable to the Packers because he stands toe-to-toe with the likes of Von Miller, Michael Bennett and Khalil Mack.

Brad from Clemmons, NC

Given all the gimpy tackles, do you see more creative alignments in the backfield to help with blocking or to force defensive alignment issues? Last year there were tight ends, wide receivers, fullbacks, etc. lined up back there with 12.

We're going to find out together, Brad. I'm not sure what the Packers are going to do, but the offense will be ready. I can assure you of that much.

Ben from Alameda, CA

Emotionally, I never want to kick a field goal on second down, but I understand the numbers say to kick for the win and go home. With a new long snapper, if the Packers get in the same position Thursday, do you kick for the win? (Please don't take this as a knock on Pepper professionally, but "new" seems like a bad word in the kicking game.)

*It's a fair question, but I think if the Packers have no qualms kicking a field goal on second down with an injured Brett Goode, they won't have any reservations about doing the same with a healthy Taybor Pepper. *

Alan from Milford, CT

Do practice-squad players sit with the other 53 in the weekly team meetings? And do they sit in the position-room meetings?

Yes and yes. They do everything their counterparts on the active roster do other than play in games and travel. The Packers typically have one "practice-squad player of the week" and a third-string quarterback who make road trips.

Eric from Oshkosh, WI

Did you just refer to our all-white uniforms as "color rush" uniforms? Don't you mean "color rush cop out" uniforms? The Packers are stuck in the mud of tradition on this one.

*I dig them. I think the players do, too. They look sweet under the lights at Lambeau. If the alternative was all-green or all-gold, this would be my preference. *

Estillac from Belem, Brazil

I loved to watch the flea-flicker play against the Bengals. Am I wrong to think that some tricky plays may help our offense while the OL is banged up? I know tricky plays are not common on the Packers' offense, but can we see more of them today against the Bears?

I noticed some hating on the flea-flicker during the game and didn't understand why. It's not like they ran a fumblerooski…and it worked! It was a great play and likely would've resulted in points had it not been for the interception later. The Bengals bit hard on the fakes to Ty Montgomery throughout. The Packers made them pay.

D'Angelo from McDonough, GA

First, let me start the right way, "GO PACK GO!" My question starts with noticing less activity with Damarious Randall. Is he healthy? Secondly, I am from Milwaukee and now live in Georgia. When do you think we will beat the Falcons in their new stadium? I definitely want to attend that game. Before signing out, I must say whether they're Super Bowl champions or lose every game (I pray not), I proudly bleed green and gold 'til I'm dead and cold. #LOVE MY PACKERS. Thank you all and bless our team, our families and our country.

Randall is healthy. I thought he played well Sunday. There seem to be some misconceptions about the pass defense, but the Packers rank in the top 10 after holding Cincinnati to only 191 passing yards Sunday. I have a feeling the Packers will see the Falcons again this season. However, only time will tell where that game is played.

Josh from Denver, CO

So Nick Wright and Cris Carter on FS1 think that because 13 different players have led the Pack in single-game receiving yards since SB45, that there is no consistency at the WR position. I think it just shows how good our receivers have been over the years and how Aaron can make great plays with any player. What's your take?

With all due respect to them, I think consistency is what powers the Packers' passing game. Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson are the definition of consistency. No quarterback-receiver combination in the NFL has been together longer. Even in their 10th season together, they're still one of the best tandems in the league. That's not to mention what Randall Cobb and Davante Adams also provide. Is it the Packers' fault Geronimo Allison led them against the Bengals? No. It's a young player stepping up.

Steve from Beaver Dam, WI

What key difference (or differences) are there between the right and left tackle spots that make the transition so difficult?

It's mostly flipping your natural tendencies and mirroring what you do on the opposite side, which alters your footwork and fundamentals. When a tackle takes a bulk of his reps at one spot, it's not easy to reverse all of that muscle memory overnight.

Luke from Madison, WI

If Tony Romo had beaten the Packers three times in the playoffs, do you think Packers fans' praise of his in-booth performance would be so enthusiastic?

Maybe. Maybe not. But I judge an individual on merit. Romo was as good as advertised in my humble opinion.

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

Romo did have some insights but overall he was too chatty for me. Plus his usage of the English language needs improvement. When he said "could've ran" I groaned. Plus, there were too many "you knows" in his delivery.

You know it's like my grandpa used to say – should've, could've, could've.

John from Los Angeles, CA

I was at the Bengals game. The stadium was pretty loud throughout, but once overtime hit, Lambeau became deafening. You could feel the sound pressing on your eardrums, getting fuzzy and distorted from the sheer volume of noise the fans were producing. Watching a frustrated Dalton call a timeout on their first OT play from scrimmage due to his inability to communicate with his receivers was the most rewarding experience I ever had as a fan. Don't discount home-field advantage.

And that is exactly why the Packers want to play as many playoff games at Lambeau Field as possible this winter. The fans brought it down the stretch on Sunday.

Steve from Fergus Falls, MN

Hi guys. Love the column. Was your night quiet last night or was it a flurry of activity with the statement?

It was quiet. My dog was fast asleep when I got home.

Brett from Milwaukee, WI

Why are we linking arms? What are we united for or against?

Why don't you just read Mike Spofford's story and**let Aaron Rodgers explain**?

Denny from Alexandria, VA

Thursday night games stress both teams. Why not coordinate it with the bye week? Sunday game, bye week, Thursday game, following Sunday game. That leaves 11 and 10 days respectively between games. Better for players. No difference for anyone else.

I've asked the same question over the years, but the weekly Thursday night games throw a wrench into that strategy. Still, there has to be a better way in my book if we're going to continue down this road.

Rob from Muskego, WI

If Rodgers anticipates a 12-man penalty, a flag is thrown for it, and he throws an interception, what happens if the opposing team challenges and wins that they got their 12th man off the field? Do they replay the down or does the flag get picked up and the interception stands?

The interception stands.

Ethan from Plant City, FL

I don't understand how all these fans can be so upset that the Packers have "only" won two Super Bowls in the Favre/Rodgers era. Do they not realize how hard it is to make the playoffs eight consecutive years, let alone win a Super Bowl? How many years has it been now since Drew Brees has even been in a playoff game? Think of all the great quarterbacks who have never won a Super Bowl. I'm sure Dan Marino and Dolphins fans would be plenty happy had they won just one Super Bowl.

It's human to want for more. It's divine to be thankful for what you have.

Luke from Oconomowoc, WI

Why don't you stop being such a bully and let Wes take a swing at a post-game Inbox?

Spoff is actually doing me a solid. I'm a much slower writer. If I were to write the post-game Inbox, you'd be waiting a rather long wait.

Jim from Maple Grove, MN

How do the Insiders handle a short week? If you keep on schedule, Spoff covers two post-game Inboxes plus the chat. What are you doing to pick up your teammate, Biff?

I offered to get him water. Does that count?

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