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Continuity is what's going to turn this thing around

What can we learn from the 2011 Green Bay Packers?


Dennis from Hinzerath, Germany

Hey Insiders, what does the activated CB from IR bring to the table and what does it mean for Sam Shields? Will he return for next season or does he consider stepping away from football due to his injuries? Keep up the good work and a Happy Thanksgiving.

First off, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I could live to be a 100 and I guarantee you I'll never have another quite like it. I don't know a lot about Makinton Dorleant, so I asked around. He was one of the undrafted rookies the Packers were highest on this spring, which is why they kept him during the final cut to 53 and then placed him on injured reserve when they needed a roster spot to re-sign Brett Goode. Teammates describe Dorleant as a sparkplug. The 5-foot-11, 182-pound cornerback finished his college career at Northern Iowa after transferring from Maryland after two seasons. He's quick and disruptive. It sounds like he could lend a hand on special teams, as well.

Collin from Kailua Kona, HI

Kudos to Mike McCarthy and the Packers' organization as a whole. Amidst all the pressure from the outside about the losing streak, he still found it in himself to think of Sam Shields as a person and not just a football player. Our secondary is struggling but he is not trying to rush him back. He wants him to get better for his family. He is a leader of men.

I thought Demetri Goodson summed it up best after Shields was placed on IR last month. You can't mess around with head injuries. It's not like a broken bone or a strained hamstring. It's your life. Does the Packers' defense miss Sam Shields? Absolutely. But this is just a game. Shields needs to take care of himself right now. McCarthy gets that. The Packers' organization gets that. I found Shields to be a very compelling, introspective individual in all my interactions with him. I wish him well in his recovery.

Matt from Minocqua, WI

Quick hits with Aaron Rodgers. Great piece. I feel a bit of a different vibe for some reason with him. Not sure if it's the lightheartedness, or what; but Aaron's right there, man! As usual, he always conducts himself so well in pressers that get me right with him. Run the table. I never count AR out!

Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy sent an important message Wednesday to the team, the fan base and the media. I won't argue about the production. It hasn't been where it needs to be to win. At the same time, you can't let the past affect the future. This team has confidence because it's been through the trials and tribulations of an NFL season before. Four years ago, everyone thought defenses solved the Packers' offense with the Cover-2. Then, Eddie Lacy came on the scene and nobody could stop the run. The offensive improvement is there and continuity is what's going to turn things around for the Packers. I can assure you that notion is alive and well in that locker room.

Koigi from Lynchburg, VA

Five years ago today the Packers had not lost a game all season, and the question was whether it was good to just lose a game so that they don't have to face the pressure of going undefeated. McCarthy responded this way: "Philosophically, we could talk all day about winning and losing. Winning and losing are representative of the three reinforcement theories – positive, negative and zero. As you develop a program that gives a team the ability to grow, positive reinforcement is the best formula for growth. Historically and through case studies, that's been proven. Negative reinforcement is a short-term answer for correction, but constant negative reinforcement inhibits growth."

That's an important lesson to remember from one of the highest peaks in this franchise's nearly 100-year history. You have to be positive, stay true to yourself and never take winning for granted. The Packers didn't do it in 2011 and they certainly aren't doing it now. Everyone knows things haven't gone the way the Packers have wanted this season, but harping on it is not constructive. You make the corrections. I don't know about you but I perform my best when given positive reinforcement. That's not rare – that's the human condition and McCarthy is in tune with that.

John from Austin, TX

I realize it's early yet, but can you provide some idea whom the Packers will play next season? Please disregard the usual six games vs. NFC North teams.

The**NFL rotation**has the Packers playing the NFC South and AFC North next season. They'll host New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Cincinnati, and travel to Atlanta, Carolina, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Their final two games against the NFC East and NFC West will be determined by where they finish in the NFC North.

Jed from Houston, TX

I predict that if Christine Michael can be the Packers' power runner and get more defenders into the box, GB will win the rest of their games. Especially if he can also be a threat out of the backfield as well with his receiving skills.

Michael has a lot of ability the Packers can benefit from, but patience is going to be key. I look at Michael as an investment for December. If he contributes immediately, all the better, but right now James Starks and Ty Montgomery are the top backs. It's going to be on them to help Green Bay establish its running game until Michael is comfortable. As I wrote last week, the**backfield is coming into focus**and that's something the Packers are going to need as the temperature drops.

Michael from Dover, PA

Happy Thanksgiving guys! Haven't heard much, if anything, about Jake Schum. What's your take?

The fact you haven't heard much about Schum over the past two months is a good thing. He's really hit his stride over the last six games. His 40.5 net average is currently tied for 14th in the NFL. If he maintains that pace, it actually would reset the franchise record Tim Masthay set last year at 40.2. That's a testament to Schum's consistency given the number of different players the Packers have had to use as their gunners this season.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

The Eagles have been something of a ball-control offense. Do you see them changing their strategy to try to attack our secondary early and often?

I'm sure Philadelphia is going to pay attention to what other offenses have done on film, but don't expect the Eagles to forsake what they do well – running the football to open up the play-action game. Jordan Matthews has been productive this year, but Carson Wentz has been most effective when working off Zach Ertz and Darren Sproles. In my opinion, the Packers need to stop those two and force Wentz toward the boundary.

Mike from Ludington, MI

Hi Insiders. What is the status of Demetri Goodson? I watched his injury on YouTube and wished I hadn't. Other than the coach saying "significant injury," nothing else. We all wish him well I'm sure.

Whenever McCarthy says a player sustained a "significant injury," it's an indication that it's serious in nature. He doesn't use that term lightly. All we know right now is he won't play in Philadelphia, though he remains on the 53-man roster for the moment. One positive is Goodson was able to travel back with the team from Washington. That's a good sign the injury wasn't something that required him to stay behind.

Scotty from Lombard, IL

Good morning Insiders, our strategy in the past four games appeared to be control the ball to keep the defense off the field. Drastic times call for drastic measures. Maybe we should put the ball in Aaron's hand and go for broke from the beginning. I like our chances much better in a high-scoring shootout, then playing ball control to keep the defense off the field. Your thoughts.

I believe there are elements from how the Packers' offense played in the final three quarters in Washington that can help the offense start faster. It's just getting Rodgers and the passing game into a rhythm early. That's what was missing on the first three drives in Washington. Undoubtedly, you need to get the run game going, but the quick passing game seems to work for Green Bay. It's about striking the perfect balance between the two to create favorable down-and-distance.

Will from Eau Claire, WI

Happy Thanksgiving! What have the past several road games been like with so many Packers fans making the trip? Do the Packers get motivated with the support of the Packers fans in attendance? Losing these games seems like a letdown.

It's been crazy. I couldn't believe how many Packer fans made the trip to Nashville. Our pep rally was off the hook. If any of you were there, be sure to give yourself a round of applause. It was an insane atmosphere. The Packers travel well, and you can be sure the players and coaches take notice.

Mike from Algoma, WI

Spoff is right, one play may be all they need. We haven't forgotten the run in 2010, have we? Giants game, season on the line, Jordy's TD sparks a win. One significant play by the defense (in the playoffs)? I'll give you one (at least) in each game. Tramon's interceptions in Philly and Atlanta. B.J.'s and Shields' interceptions in Chicago. Nick Collins' interception in SB XLV. It ain't over 'til the math says it's over!

*Like the great philosopher Harvey Dent once said, "The night is darkest before the dawn." (Yes, I'm aware it was Thomas Fuller who said that but please humor my love for the Dark Knight trilogy). Don't underestimate how far one play can go in energizing not only a team, but also a fan base. Obviously, the 2010 season was the best example, but even during the 2013 and 2015 seasons the Packers had big moments (the Dallas comeback and Hail Mary game) that really provided a late-season spark. All it takes is one match to start a fire. *

Mark from Denver, CO

Are the Packers in the business of controlling the cap or are they in the business of winning Super Bowls?

Both. You need to control your cap to win a Super Bowl. If you don't manage it well, they'll find someone else who can.

Luke from Ellendale, ND

Hey guys, over the past three months, who has had the most answered questions in the Inbox?

Great question, Luke. I don't know off the top of my head, but I'll make this promise. Once the season is over, I'll go back and tally it up. Maybe we'll give out a prize or something to whoever had the most…and yes, I'll count this question to your tally.

Scott from Greensburg, IN

Thanksgiving memory? Two words, Walter Stanley.

You have a great memory, Scott. That also reminded me that I have a signed Walter Stanley card at my parents' house. I used to keep it right next to my Anthony Dilweg signed rookie card.

Les from Las Vegas, NV

Lions won. Plan launched. Let's go!

That was an entertaining football game. It's all about timely plays and a critical error at the end that cost the Vikings dearly. Darius Slay also made a great play on that ball. He truly is one of the league's underrated star cornerbacks. The fact Detroit has now trailed during the fourth quarter of every game tells you how strange this season has been, but credit the Lions and Matt Prater for coming through in the clutch. Now, let's see how everything plays out.

Dana from Reno, NV


W-E-L-L D-O-N-E.

Jordan from San Jose, CA

Insiders, would you rather win out and miss the playoffs or lose the rest of the games?

As our Packers brand & fan engagement assistant Haylee Helmle likes to say – "Clear eyes. Full heart. Can't lose." Just win, baby.

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