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How much does continuity matter?

You have to walk before you can run


Guy from Hudson, WI

Will we see any hurry-up offense in the middle of the game or is BH's lack of experience going to limit when it can be used?

I've always believed you have to walk before you can run. I don't mean that to disparage Hundley, but he's started one NFL game. Let's be realistic.

Charlie from Philadelphia, PA

Clay has had a great season. Clark and Daniels are beasts on the line. I don't necessarily disagree with either of those statements; however, this team only has 12 sacks in seven games and Nick Perry has the most. With those four going after the quarterback all game, what's missing? If it's truly players, not plays, where's the disconnect?

The lack of sacks specifically and QB pressure generally can't continue for this defense to be successful. I'm not saying there's a significant schematic alteration coming after the bye, a la 2014, but I believe something will have to change. I'm just not smart enough to figure out what.

Matt from Hartford, WI

There is no discernable team that has a Super Bowl kind of cut-throat about them this year. Even the Chiefs showed vulnerability to a last-second drive. So who has the best shot? The Chiefs with a quarterback playing above his head, the Vikings with everything but a quarterback, the Texans with an emerging rookie quarterback, the Chicago Bears with a quarterback of their own? This has to be the most I've seen the NFL so close to each other. Would you happen to know the year in which everyone was this close to each other?

Maybe I've been too close to it for too long, but it feels this way around midseason for me every year. It's tempting to say the Eagles are the team to beat in the NFC, because they've beaten good teams, won close games, and their only loss is to the Chiefs, but they just lost their franchise left tackle. How they manage that is their next challenge. The Rams have won three road games already. What does that tell us? The Saints have two home games coming up against sub-.500 teams, so a six-game winning streak looks very realistic. In the AFC, there's still plenty to like about the Chiefs, but if the Steelers go into Detroit on Sunday night and beat a Lions team coming off a bye, are we on the verge of "watch out" in Pittsburgh? All this and we're just around the halfway point.

Kyle from Jenison, MI

Can I borrow your towel? My car just hit a water buffalo. Wes, no "Fletch"?

I can't even get him to watch it.

Josh from Oshkosh, WI

I was reading Vic's new blog. He said because of Aaron Rodgers' second collarbone injury and the fact that he'll be 34 before he plays again, Brett Hundley could possibly be the Packers' QB of the future. Is Vic being crazy, or am I naive?

If there are no complications or long-term implications from Rodgers' recovery, the thought of the Packers moving on is ludicrous. Tom Brady went to three Super Bowls in the six years from ages 34-39.

Jim from Maple Grove, MN

Besides the Packers, how many teams have yet to play in London?

By my count, five after the Browns play there Sunday. The Eagles, Panthers, Seahawks, Titans and Texans also have not played in London, though the Texans played in Mexico City last year.

Jeff from Eveleth, MN

I hope we play in London, then we can drink before 9 a.m. and it won't seem like we have a problem.

Seem being the operative word.

Lori from Heredia, Costa Rica

Hey Mike, it's the bye week. Tell us a happy memory of a plane ride back to Green Bay after a game. The flight after the Hail Mary in Detroit must have been one of the best flights ever.

The only one that's ever been especially memorable for me was the flight back the day after Super Bowl XLV, because it's the only return flight on which I wasn't working, as all the stories from the game were posted the night before. Equipment manager Red Batty was going around the plane, letting everyone hold the Lombardi Trophy and take a picture with it. I was grateful my laptop didn't need to be open.

Mike from Kamloops, BC

Are you serious? Zimmer's defenses have always been considered on the borderline of dirty. They are fundamentally sound but there is zero question in my mind that his defenses have always had a few (two to three) that like to put their toes in the dirty water.

I agree, but I think he manages those personalities well.

Damien from Sierra Vista, AZ

I've never been on the fire-Capers bandwagon, but I do have a question about his fit in Green Bay. Everyone consistently says how advanced his defense is to play, so is he really a good fit with a draft-and-develop team? A team that relies on a consistent influx of inexperienced players doesn't seem like it should run a defense that seems to require experience to play.

That's a popular theory, but I don't profess to know enough intricacies about X's and O's to give an opinion worth a hill of beans. I'm sure some would agree with the theory. Others would say football is football. The questions in the Inbox about the defense continue to intensify, and I've been pondering them. I honestly have, and the only new thought that has come to me stems from something McCarthy reiterated in his last press conference about offensive lines that practice and play together developing the best continuity. I'm wondering if that's ultimately the biggest factor on defense, the constant personnel changes – not in sub-packages down by down, but game to game and practice to practice, due to injuries – combined with always developing young players. It's not so much this guy missing a game here and that one there. It's more not having the same core 15-16 guys lining up every Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday to develop continuity. Every team has to deal with change, I know, but I've seen this scheme executed very well, and I think it's when the same guys are practicing it and playing together week after week. It's happened for stretches each season, but there hasn't been a stretch like that yet this year. I'd like to see one after the bye, to study if there's any credence to my latest pondering.

Reed from McFarland, WI

Wes wrote, "This benefits no one," regarding Aaron Rodgers' injury. The fans of all the other hopeful NFC playoff teams disagree.

Wes's idealism is charming, isn't it?

Andy from Tomahawk, WI

Think of it this way: You get paid to do a job and you consistently are in the top 15-20 percent of all your peers in your field. You haven't won "Employee of the year" in a while but it is a competitive field. How would you feel if you got fired?

Crappy, but pretty confident I wouldn't be unemployed for long.

Bill from Lenexa, KS

Will Rodgers be on the sideline for the Lions game in Week 9?

I'm guessing so.

Paul from Ellensburg, WA

Hey fellas, as the debate continues over defense and every other aspect of our amazing team, can we really say the season will come down to anything or anyone but Brett Hundley? Rodgers could make the team win, everyone has their part to do, but Hundley is the key.

Outside of benefiting from fluky good fortune (see Bears, Week 7), you can't win in the NFL without your quarterback playing well.

Robert from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Spoff, although I respect your opinion, I disagree. No one is going to load the box. The Saints were cagey and others will follow suit. You have to pass to win in today's NFL. They allowed the run knowing eventually someone would make a play to set up a passing situation. They didn't want Hundley to ever get comfortable passing. The major playmakers are our receivers, and they took them away. The windows are going to remain tight until Hundley proves he can throw through them. Let's hope he can.

I see your point, but I saw a Saints defense fully committed to stopping the run in the fourth quarter with the Packers on their own 10, trailing 19-17. They adjusted, because the only reason the Packers had regained the lead at 17-16 in the first place was a 21-yard run by Jones and a New Orleans personal foul for pulling a guy off the Cobb fumble pile. That accounted for 36 of the 53 yards on the only drive the Packers put together in the second half. They weren't going to risk Jones breaking free again to give the offense any spark, and I think other teams will commit to stopping Jones from the get-go.

Justin from Canton, NC

Hey guys, still read every day, haven't sent in a question in a while, someone else usually asks what I would have anyway. I just need some help. I just had a 20-reply Twitter war with a dude trying to tell me that not winning the SB is failure. Anytime you don't meet a goal, you fail. While I get the specific and insane point he was trying to make, I was applying it to the NFL. Please help me understand why some of my own fan base is so crazy. It's like there aren't any other teams and it's just ours to lose every year. This mantra I keep seeing from some Packer fans is slowly wearing me down. Isn't this supposed to be fun?

I'm convinced there is a segment of the fan base that believes the 31 other teams exist solely for the Packers to defeat them. It's best not to engage.

Jonathan from St. Joseph, MO

What are the chances we will eventually see all money guaranteed in NFL contracts?

I can't imagine what would give the players enough leverage in CBA negotiations for the owners to ever give in to that.

Tony from Bronxville, NY

13 screws and a plate doesn't sound good.

Vic always used to tell me the body loves hardware.

Paul from Gorham, ME

Hi Insiders, which coaches, quarterbacks or receivers were the first to implement the back-shoulder passing game?

I have no idea, but the first time I can remember covering a game where the play wasn't just an occasional tactic but highly prevalent was the 2007 NFC title game. It's become far more widespread, in my opinion, since Manning, Burress, and the Giants showed how successful it could be in a big game.

Jeff from Grafton, WI

I have a memory of John Anderson hitting a field goal with a cast on his broken arm. I looked it up. A 39-yarder in 1979. He was also 1-for-2 in extra points. Guessing it was all the same game.

You're right. I missed that one between Wingo in '81 and Pureifory in '75.

Greg from Columbus, MT

By definition, a fan is a "fanatic." Packer fans are definitely fanatical about their team and that leads to panic and despair during times like this. Thank you for your efforts to bring some reality and hope back! Do you ever despair of the despair?


Mark from Grand Rapids, MI

Across-the-board consensus going into the season was the one area we could least afford injury was the offensive line, so naturally we're decimated there. Is it even possible to have every position group adequately backed up?

For an injury here or there, yes. For a barrage at one position group, no way.

Cole from Fitchburg, WI

I'm beyond fed up with fans claiming the Packers "settle" for being a playoff team each year rather than winning Super Bowls. Comments like that betray a fundamental misconception of how the NFL works. "Settling" implies a one-sided decision to accept less. Every week, for 60 minutes, the Packers face a team of professional football players who want it just as bad as they do. There are no small victories, no sure things. Sometimes you get outmatched by a more talented opponent (2016, ATL), sometimes a single mistake makes the difference (2014, SEA). No one decides to lose, and no one "settles" in the NFL.

Well said.

David from Coeur d'Alene, ID

Longtime Packer fans put a lot of hope and heart into rooting for their team. When things go badly, as they have this year, we can choose to rant and rave or keep hoping for the best. I like this quote from history: "I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink." – Thomas Paine, 1776.

Paine helps me hit the delete button in the Inbox, too. "To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead."

Sean from Chaska, MN

Hi, Insiders. I had the rare opportunity to go to Lambeau last weekend and I don't know if the crowd at home got to see that "performance painter" at halftime make that portrait, but that was really something special. I don't suppose there's video anywhere of him making it?

Idwin from Kearney, WI

Any suggestions on who to cheer for this week?

It would be wonderful if the friendly confines of London did something magical for the Browns against the Vikings, but I'm not holding my breath. Can the Jets make it a clean AFC East sweep over the Falcons? That would be something. The Steelers going into Ford Field in prime time should be interesting. I'm planning to sit down on my couch with my laptop for the Sunday night Lions game to write Monday morning's Insider Inbox, and I'd love to see a whole bunch of questions from your observations of Sunday's games. Consider this my plea to broaden our horizons for one Monday. Enjoy your bye weekend, everybody.

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