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He can wreck a lot of plays

The Bucs will give the Packers all they can handle


John from Rhinelander, WI

I've been a Packers fan since the 1950s and have seen Starr, Favre, Rodgers, and Dickey play in person. After the Snow Bowl game, I think we would have talked about Dickey like the other three quarterbacks as far as greatness if he didn't have the hip/movement problems during his career. He put on quite a show when Tampa couldn't get to him!

I always felt growing up that Dickey threw the best deep ball I ever saw, until John Elway came along.

Morgan from Fort Collins, CO

Has there ever been a less likely two-time Super Bowl champion QB? I mean, I like the guy's TV persona, but he doesn't blow the doors off. Is Eli a Hall of Fame-caliber player in an era that will probably have at least four other locks from his position outside his big bro?

As I said in my chat the other day, I don't agree with how this was handled, but Eli's HOF candidacy will create interesting discussion. The only retired two-time Super Bowl-winning QB not in the Hall is Jim Plunkett. Eli won the Super Bowl MVP twice (Plunkett only once), but he's never had a season passer rating above 100 in the pass-happy era, and his rating has been above 90 only four times in 14 years. He's made the playoffs six times – four one-and-dones, two 4-0 runs to titles. He's not done playing yet, but he's going to have staunch advocates and serious detractors when the time comes.

Lauren from Tampa Bay, FL

Do you think we can get enough pressure on Winston to force a few picks?

I don't think it's about picks, necessarily, but getting pressure and hurrying Winston will be key because his pass catchers are tough matchups. Evans, Brate and Howard are all at least 6-5, and Jackson can still run like the wind. This passing game will be a huge challenge.

Steve from Pearl City, HI

I don't think we needed Rodgers to beat the Steelers. We needed Mathews and Clark. On to the Bucs, though. Can a 5-6 team have a trap game? I think it'll be closer than a lot of people want to believe, especially if Winston is back.


King's status looks very iffy, and now Randall is on the injury report as well. The forecast is not for a typical Sunday in December around here. If Winston is more rested than rusty, the Bucs will give the Packers all they can handle.**

Josh from Oshkosh, WI

It's crazy that these former division rivals have only played in Green Bay twice in the Rodgers era. And only once with him as the starter. What are the most memorable Packers-Buccaneers games?

The one I covered in 2009 was memorable for the wrong reasons, but it became the turning point of the early Rodgers era. As does John from Apopka, FL, I vividly remember the '02 game in Tampa, too. I was watching on TV at a bar in Madison (covering the state high school football championships that weekend), and the Chad Clifton injury is forever seared into my brain. The career he had after coming back from that was incredible, and it's a story that's never fully gotten its due, mostly because Cliffy didn't talk about it much. One of the quietest, most humble big men I've ever interviewed.

Jonathan from Paducah, KY

I am sure the Inbox is full of questions on the Matthews comment and I am sure it is mostly overreaction like most comment sections across the web. I think it was nothing more than personal commentary painting a picture of how well the process is going. I don't think he was undermining the decision and I don't think we should take as a full-health assessment that Rodgers could play Sunday if only he wasn't put on IR.

Rodgers said the doctors will be making the call based on the bone growth and healing they see on the scan when the time comes. That's it, that's all.

Vegas from Orlando, FL

Life is bigger than football. Let's keep Casey's family in mind this week.

So sad to hear the news about Hayward's brother. I'll always remember an interview I did with Hayward heading into his second season after he had gone back to Vanderbilt to finish his degree. It struck me how important it was to him, and it wasn't about some promise he made to others. He promised himself and followed through.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

The Eagles have one loss on the year entering December football. Gotta admit I thought Doug Pederson was insane to compare his team to the Packers of the mid '90s. I did not think the Eagles would be this good, along with the Saints, Jaguars. I did not think the Giants would be anywhere near where they are, and I did not think the Packers would be without their superstar. What a crazy year it's been thus far, and now the fun really starts. Especially if the Packers can start with a win on Sunday.

Both the Eagles and Rams came to Lambeau Field in the preseason, and I remember not having any meaningful impression about their teams and where they were headed. Just a reminder of how useless the preseason has become as any kind of forecast.

Barry from Hayward, WI

Of the four NFC North games this weekend, which team is in for the biggest surprise, be it pleasant or nasty?


The Packers practiced Thursday afertnoon at Clarke Hinkle Field getting ready for Sunday's matchup with Tampa Bay. Photos by Evan Siegle,

The Minnesota-Atlanta game is obviously the most intriguing. If the Vikings win down there, the talk of them never leaving home after Christmas will begin in earnest.**

Mark from Heyworth, IL

One thing I have not seen touched on – that was the third straight regular-season game between Green Bay and Pittsburgh that was decided on the final play of regulation. And Pittsburgh has prevailed each time, twice with walk-off wins, and once by making a goal-to-go stop as time expired. Even Super Bowl XLV came down to the final minute. It seems you're guaranteed 60 full minutes of good football whenever the Packers and Steelers match up.

As good as the games in '13 and '17 have been, it's still a shame that Rodgers and Roethlisberger have not gone head-to-head since the classics in '09 and the Super Bowl.

Jamie from Brooklyn, NY

Just spent some time in the comments section of one of the articles. Are Packers fans really that bad at losing? Or are we misrepresented, i.e., the good losers are living lives rather than fuming over TT, MM, DC?

Assuming any segment of the internet, including Insider Inbox, is accurately representative of any large-scale group is inherently dangerous. Do so at your peril.

Don from Cedar Rapids, IA

I believe the football used to be spotted on the opponent's 20-yard line after a missed field goal, instead of the line of scrimmage of the miss (as is currently done). Do you know when that rule changed and what prompted the change?

It was changed in 1994, the same year the NFL instituted the two-point conversion. Missed kicks from beyond the 20 had been spotted at the line of scrimmage, but it was changed to the spot of the kick. The thinking behind it was to try to deter long field goals and encourage teams to go for it more often on fourth down in that area of the field. If the spot of the kick is inside the 20, the ball is still returned to the 20, as before.

Scott from Hamlin, NY

Be honest, do you thank Vic for creating this forum or curse him?

Depends on which column the tally mark goes in each week. No, seriously, we're forever indebted. Our website wouldn't be the same without this.

Aaron from Wheeling, IL

I just read the article about Aaron Rodgers spending time with a young boy and his mom in Chicago. All I can say is what a class act he is and we are lucky to have such a genuine great guy as our quarterback.

That was a wonderful story. The mom's very understated approach at the moment of recognition cracked me up, and I think it contributed to how the encounter unfolded.

Tim from Marinette, WI

One point I'd like to make on the AB catch on the last drive. I'm sort of surprised it hasn't been brought up yet. Does that play happen if Fackrell doesn't get held? He came screaming off of his stunt and as he blew past the O-lineman he got his arm grabbed, which allowed Ben to slide to his left and we all know what happened. I don't think that play happens without the hold.

Your inquiry prompted me to go back and look at the play again. Fackrell made a nice spin move and was closing in, but I don't think he was held.

Paul from Fairfax, VA

More of a comment. To all those looking to trade up for a high draft pick, remember Tony Mandarich, Ryan Leaf, etc. High draft picks don't always work out. More swings!

I'm with Wes on this. The draft is dicey enough, and trading up only makes it more dicey (dicier?). In 2012, the Packers traded up three times, using seven picks total to select Jerel Worthy, Casey Hayward and Terrell Manning. They got one good player for seven choices. Fortunately that draft also produced Nick Perry and Mike Daniels, or it would have set the Packers back considerably. I'm not saying you should never trade up, but you'd better be sure it's worth it.

Joe from Milwaukee, WI

Who is the difference-maker on the Bucs' defense we should look out for, and who would you say needs to be our difference-maker on defense?

Tampa Bay's Gerald McCoy is a huge disrupter on the interior of the defensive line, and he has five of the Bucs' 15 sacks on the season. He can wreck a lot of plays. The Packers need Daniels to play better than McCoy, and they need House to come up big against Evans, with King not practicing so far this week.

Jared from Philadelphia, PA

Any insight on how the Packers' practice-squad WRs have been performing? I feel like we have a lot of talent there and have not heard anything in regards to their development.

The media does not have access to any of the 11-on-11 segments of practice during the regular season, so we won't know anything about the development you speak of until next spring.

Max from Milwaukee, WI

Is it just me or has Damarious Randall really started to come on in the last few weeks?


He's a great fit at the slot corner spot, and by focusing solely on that role, he's playing the best football of his young career.**

Aaron from Hayden, OH

Is this rookie class going to go down as the best in league history? Every week so many of them are making game-changing (or game-saving) plays for their respective teams. Deshaun Watson (pre-injury), Kareem Hunt, Tre'Davious White, Myles Garrett, the list goes on and on...this could be one of the most pivotal draft classes of all time!

Instant success in the NFL is to be commended. Sustained success is the true measure.

Sandra from Lewiston, ID

Spoff and Hod: Season's Greetings from Idaho! My crazy Packer Backer husband got me hooked on the Insider Inbox this year. He interrupts me reading a good book and blurts out Packerisms continually! You are on my cookie list for keeping him jovial and our fridge full of milk so he doesn't break any bones on the couch watching the games!

I love cookies any time of year, but especially this time of year. As December is now upon us, season's greetings to all.

Brian from New Port Richey, FL

The Bucs just lost their two best offensive linemen for the season. Tampa Bay is in disarray losing five of their last seven. Cleveland has not won a game all season. These are two games the Packers should and will win. I know the team can't look ahead but we can. With two more wins that puts the Packers at 7-6. Rodgers might be available at that point to return for what would be three games against tough opponents. Momentum goes a long way in this league. If the Packers get on a roll they might just find themselves back in the hunt and the wild-card team nobody will want to face.

Just beat the Bucs.

Ryan from Madison, WI

Mike, it's going to be an exciting weekend. I'm not going to propose hypotheticals during the Jim Mora-torium because there's only two things that matter. A Badgers win on Saturday and a Packers win on Sunday. On Wisconsin! And Go Pack Go!

It is indeed a huge weekend. I don't often share personal stuff here, but if you'll allow me a proud dad moment, my eighth-grade daughter is playing the female lead in the school musical tonight and tomorrow. She's Marian the Librarian in "The Music Man," and my son is coming back from college to see her perform. So yeah, after watching my daughter sing her heart out in front of a large family gathering, I would love nothing more than to enjoy wins by the Badgers and Packers. Cheers, everyone.

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