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Inbox: Aaron Rodgers deserves to be the NFL MVP…again

Allen Lazard is going to be a critical part of a championship run

QB Aaron Rodgers
QB Aaron Rodgers

Tony from Chanhassen, MN

I can't believe there has not been a question/comment about AJ Dillon's outfit of overalls with no shirt. I know he's made a quick connection with the fans before, but that definitely should help.

A comment? Tony, I led an entire Inbox with it two days ago. What else did you want? Spofford in bibs and a cutoff?

Bill from Whiting, IN

I wouldn't take what Hub Arkush says too seriously. A couple of years ago when the Bears were going 8-8 while the Pack finished 13-3, he said that he would take the Bears' roster over the Packers' roster. He is nothing more than a Chicago Bears partisan and will probably look for a reason to vote for any other option for MVP rather than AR12.

There obviously were a lot of questions on this topic. I'm just going to let Rodgers’ words and Spoff’s story speak on the Arkush situation. All I'm going to add is for everything that's happened over the past 12 months, I feel like this season – maybe more than any other – has proven how valuable Aaron Rodgers is to this organization. As far as the teammate aspect of this thing is concerned, it's not easy for a 38-year-old veteran to connect with a locker room he's professionally outlived two or three times over, but yet Rodgers has done it. He's put in the time and effort to get to know players on both sides of the ball. On the field, he's been the most valuable player to the league's winningest team. That's not an opinion. That's a fact. If you fail to recognize that, then you're purposely shielding your eyes from how well he's played this season. Aaron Rodgers has played like an MVP and deserves to be the NFL MVP…again.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, how is Aaron Rodgers able to stay sharp and on-point with his receivers when he doesn't have much practice time with them?

It's everything above the shoulders, man. It's that hard drive of 17 NFL seasons Rodgers can pull from at a moment's notice. There is an endless list of plays and experiences Rodgers can lean on when the physical reps aren't there, especially with Davante Adams.

Michael from Pound, WI

Gents, just a comment on the MVP topic. I believe Rodgers has a good chance of winning it simply because it has morphed into a QB award, which I have never understood. If you have a great RB, he can make the O-line look better, QB, receivers, coaches, play-callers and he can let his defense rest. Aaron Donald changes every single facet of the game for both teams when he is on the field. I believe QBs should be in the conversation, like the rest of the players, but not win it all the time. GPG.

As history has shown, the NFL MVP is given to the players (quarterbacks, running backs and once even a kicker) who have direct contact with the football and do the most with it. So, it makes sense QBs have reigned supreme in an era that's favored the passing game. That being said, I thought last year was telling when Rodgers won the MVP and Derrick Henry was honored as the NFL Offensive Player of the Year, which has been won by a skill-position player in three of the last four years.

Ron from Cornell, MI

Why would anyone who is given the privilege to judge incredible athletes' value to their team's success, choose to focus on anything but what they do as an athlete? If a voter needs to feel all warm and fuzzy when their MVP choice is mentioned, they aren't qualified to have a vote. Isn't it that simple?

The whole thing is disappointing and regrettable. I do know many AP voters who take the responsibility very seriously. They go to great lengths to do what's right to honor and maintain the prestige of their awards.

Troy form Westminster, CO

Are people really conflating sitting out preseason games with Week 18 philosophies? Even with the seeding locked up, they are nothing of the same sort. It's all about the mindset and mental approach. Not playing preseason games preserves you for an 18-week trek towards the playoffs. In Week 18, you can be smart but you better stay tuned. This game matters way more than any preseason game.

More on that later today. Adams, as he tends to do, summed it up better than I ever could.

Gretchen from Dousman, WI

Thank you, Wes, for the article on Allen Lazard. You are a treasure.

Thanks Gretchen. It just felt like the right time to remind folks of impact Allen Lazard can have on the Packers' passing offense. Adams is the best in the business but Lazard is going to be a critical part of a championship run, too.

Tom from Gurnee, IL

What do you tell Packers fans 35 and under? What you have seen in your lifetime is not normal. You've been blessed with a team that has had a chance to win every Sunday for the last 30 years. At some point the ride is going to end.

On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero. So, stop looking to the future and enjoy what's in front of you today.

Tom from Halifax, Canada

Mike/Wes, I think most would agree when/if Jaire Alexander, Za'Darius Smith, David Bakhtiari, and Billy Turner come back they are put back in the lineup immediately given that they are All-Pro/Pro Bowl-level players. However, I am wondering about Josh Myers. Do you think if/when he is heathy, does he play over Lucas Patrick?

I don't know. Just like I didn't know when people previously asked about the aforementioned others. My primary concern is getting those players back on the field. Because once they're healthy and available, those situations tend to work themselves out one way or another.

John from Palmdale, CA

Thoughts on swapping Yosh Nijman and Dennis Kelly for the Detroit game? If Nijman can adjust and play RT and we get DB back at LT for the playoff run with Kelly backing them up, I like our chances for handling the monster edge rushers better. Good idea or too much to ask for an O-line that's had to adjust way too much already this year?

That's what makes these questions so difficult to answer – Nijman, Kelly, Lucas Patrick and Jon Runyan have all played so well in their respective starter's absence. I don't know what's going to happen. I just know when David Bakhtiari is in the lineup, the Packers are a better football team.

Dick from Four Oaks, NC

I'm obviously way older than you, Wes, because I remember growing up to Ray Scott doing the play-by-play for the Packers. (If there's a Sportscaster's Hall of Fame, he should surely be in it.) At any rate, I don't recall ever hearing "line to gain" until many, many years later. Whoever dreamed that one up should have stayed asleep. It goes along with the term "physicality" popping up on so many broadcasts. Bam! I think John Madden must be laughing his turducken off on that one!

I was today years old when I first heard the phrase: "Whoever dreamed that one up should have stayed asleep," but it shall remain in my vernacular until the day I leave this earth. Magnificent.

Christian from Plymouth, MN

By clinching home field, we essentially have two bye weeks. Is a three-week bye too long?

That's why the starters are playing Sunday, right? I felt like Matt LaFleur perfectly articulated the team's thought process before Wednesday's practice. The Packers did a lot of research and felt this was in the best interest of their football team.

Jake from Decatur, GA

Is there any coach you'd rather be playing against this Sunday than Dan Campbell? From a fan perspective, it seems to me like the perfect matchup for this "meaningless" game. You know he's going to get his team ready to play with heart, so the game should be entertaining. But he also comes across as the kind of guy who isn't going to tolerate any cheap shots from players of his who might want to spoil their rivals' playoff hopes.

You can see why Campbell was such a hot coaching candidate before the Lions ultimately hired him. He's energetic and wears his emotions on his sleeves, but he also connects with his players. That team fought for him this year. That roster still needs work but I think the arrow is pointing in the right direction for the Lions.

David from Appleton, WI

Hello Insiders! What is your biggest concern heading into Detroit this coming Sunday?

Coming out healthy. I don't think a successful day should be judged as the Packers going into Ford Field with their starters, dominating the Lions and sitting after halftime. The Packers just need to get their work in, get home healthy and rest up for the stretch run.

Jerad from Madison, WI

So, hypothetically, if it came down to both the Raiders and Chargers would get in by a tie, and they knew it going in, could they agree to just kneel it for 60 minutes? Or would the NFL stop them?

You play to win the game. Hello? You play to win the game! Sorry, I just wanted to say that.

Connor from Berkley, MI

Do you think the NFL will ever pivot from divisional games in the last week? I think it can create good playoff drama, but that's only a few matchups each year and the rest of the games are starting to feel a bit stale from exhibition repetition in my opinion.

No, that's here to stay. I just wish they'd mix it up a little more. Several teams wound up playing each other two times in the final three weeks. That's not good for anyone. Also, having the Packers finish against Detroit in five of the last six years has gotten stale.

Bob from Port Saint Lucie, FL

This year has proven a Vic-ism to be can't have too many jars on the shelf. Little did we actually know in September how full and important those jars would be! Can you recall a year when we relied on more OL replacements than this year?

The Packers had to play with the all-guard line a few years ago but they still had their starting center (Corey Linsley) and guards (Lane Taylor and Jahri Evans) available. Green Bay is currently down its top four starters on paper and still found a way to keep its MVP quarterback upright. I'm blown away by what Adam Stenavich's crew has accomplished.

Nick from Charlottesville, VA

Which would be a more hyped narrative for an NFC Championship Game: Rodgers vs. Brady rematch or Rodgers vs. his former coach?

I still say Rodgers and Brady. They're the two best to ever do it. I guess Rodgers and Mike McCarthy make for a good headline, but Rodgers are Brady are two of the best to ever do it. Their paths have crossed on so few occasions.

John from Jupiter , FL

Morning Wes. I was just listening to Bob Papa who was of the opinion Mike Vrabel is hands down coach of the year. His argument was Vrabel lost Derrick Henry and ML has AR. Does having a great player diminish your opportunity for coach of the year? Thanks.

It sure seems like it. Henry is arguably the best running back of his generation but the Packers also have been inundated by injury. We'll see what the voters have to say about it but my vote would still be for LaFleur, especially considering he's yet to receive the award.

Mike from Franksville, WI

When telling the story of the '90s Packers, would you end it with Mike Holmgren leaving or Ron Wolf retiring?

I would lean towards Holmgren's departure signaling the end of the '90s Packers and Wolf's final year in 2001 as the beginning of everything that happened over the next decade.

Brandon from Kronenwetter, WI

No cheering in the press box? Please don't tell that to Larry McCarren. I love it when he gets fired up when the Pack makes a huge play! It doesn't get much better than hearing Larry screaming "YES!!!" on the radio broadcast!

Technically not the press box. That's the radio booth.

Arthur from Eau Claire, WI

Heard someone say that Coach LaFleur's three-year winning record isn't as big a deal as Coach Seifert's because of Aaron Rodgers. Maybe I'm wrong but didn't the 49ers have Hall of Famer Steve Young at quarterback? Apples and oranges to me.

That sounds to me like arguing for the sake of arguing, and in my humble opinion, that isn't argumentation. It's idiocracy.

David from Minneapolis, MN

There's no cheering in the press box. What about in the Inbox?

Only chortling.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Although engrained is the less common spelling, I think I like it better. Ingrained seems closer to an ingrown migraine.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I – like Spoff – I took the one that was engrained.

Dave from Long Island City, NY

Come on Wes! The quest for 14 in Dean's poetry hasn't been for 14 victories in the 2021 season…it's for our beloved Packers 14th NFL championship!

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…….well, isn't that embarrassing.

Dave from Rockford, IL

My opinion is that football should have 18 games and two preseason games with most starters not playing much. Most teams have empty stadiums in preseason with low TV ratings. From 1970-77 the NFL played six preseason games, with starters playing in most of them, and 14 regular-season games. The even number 18 games make more sense, and football players should then make more money for their additional effort.

Or here's an even crazier idea – how about just leave it at 16 regular-season games with 32 NFL teams? With that being said, please read the following statement below as it relates to the Insider Inbox comment section. See you Friday. will be shutting down the website's comments section permanently, effective Sunday, Jan. 9. We make this decision regrettably, as our efforts to police the abusers of the comment policy have not effectively improved the ongoing problems, and we do not have the resources to monitor the section's activity on a constant basis. We are providing a couple days' notice to allow users to connect with one another if they wish. It's unfortunate that a very small percentage of abusers has forced us to eliminate the platform for the larger audience that has used it appropriately and followed the policy. This decision is final and will not be revisited.