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Inbox: After all these years, Mason Crosby is still getting it done

Saquon Barkley is a threat every time he touches the ball

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K Mason Crosby

Brian from Minneapolis, MN

Good morning, Mike and Wes. What did you think of Aaron Rodgers rocking the cutoff hoodie in his postgame press conference? I thought it was a witty nod to Bill Belichick's "style." Oddly, it seemed to go unnoticed by the assembled press.

It didn't go unnoticed by me. It was fantastic. Pay homage.

Al from Green Bay, WI

This is a shout out to Molly Crosby's steady, reliable, pro's pro of a husband. When the game came down to his foot, there was no doubt. It's great to have Mason on the team, and to have his family in our community!

I tweeted after the game there's no amount of money you could pay me to be an NFL kicker. Yet, Crosby has made so many of those clutch kicks during his 15-plus NFL seasons. Kickers are wired differently. The best don't have that "worry" signal in their membrane. They simply do it. After all these years, Mason Crosby is still getting it done.

Ky from Santa Cruz, CA

I was very excited for a solid run defense this year given the improved D-line. After a couple bad games, I was encouraged by the performance against the Bucs. Then, this game happened, and the Bucs rushed for minus-3 yards in the first half of SNF. What's going wrong?

Spoff asked and Matt LaFleur answered on Monday. The head coach called for more physicality up front. There also might be times when schematically the Packers move out of their Cover-2 defensive looks and drop a safety into the box to defend against run-heavy offenses. All is not lost. The Packers are aware they have work to do against the run and the talent required to make the corrections.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Wes, what's the counter to the jumbo package NE used (employing an extra OL when they ran out of TEs)? Bringing on another DL? Do the NYG have anything comparable? If not, could you see them adding it? Should GB employ their own version of a heavy package?

Meeting power with power. I didn't see Marcus Cannon run any routes. If a team is content with having six blockers, the Packers may need to deploy an extra rusher or two.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

I think many of these close games are attributed to the Packers' negative turnover margin. If I'm not mistaken, they've given up at least one in every game. I think we start to see a cleaner operation once those mistakes are minimized.

Much like the run defense, I feel confident the Packers will sort out the turnovers. Historically, Green Bay has been solid under LaFleur when it comes to protecting the football. Defensively, I think the takeaway tide will turn over the next month, as well. The unit is too talented for it not to.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

I have just one question for this week. Can this Packers defense slow down Saquon Barkley, and if so, how?

That is the No. 1 question. Because Barkley is back and so are the Giants. The Packers must have an answer. Because it's not just about getting beat on first down against a back of his caliber – it's how Barkley is a threat to take it to the end zone every time he touches the ball.

Pete from Hillsborough, NC

There are two pressing questions this week. First, will all three phases show up for Green Bay for the whole game in London? Second, can Wes drink room-temperature root beer? Better yet, do they even have root beer in the UK?

Getting all three phases clicking simultaneously is so difficult to accomplish, especially in an international game. But the good thing is all three phases have made impacts early on. It's not one area carrying the other two. On the root beer front, a UK Packers fan told me I'm gonna be out of luck, but I guess there's only one way to find out.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

Also, I like that Rodgers kept going back to Romeo Doubs after the fumble. Build his confidence, and it even surprised me when Rodgers said afterward, he felt like he didn't give him the right ball. Is he tough on them? Sure, but I think the headlines of "Rodgers hates his WR core" are completely bogus, and the WRs themselves know that. I do really want to see Christian Watson make a catch down field for a huge gain though. Soon...

And when plays are made, Rodgers is the first player there to celebrate with them. Echoing Dan Orlovsky's comments, I'm excited to see what this receiving corps looks like at the end of the season. Green Bay has the right mix of veterans (Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Sammy Watkins) and youth (Watson, Romeo Doubs, Rodgers and Samori Toure), and are only gonna get better.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Hi Wes, I never complain about a win. Do you think the offense will start trying to mix in more Christian Watson? Teams now have to account for Lazard and Doubs. I know our defense can get leaky at times, but I still have a ton of faith in them. GPG!

It's building a menu. You give the rookies packages that they feel comfortable with and expand from there. The Packers have already done that with both Watson and Doubs.

Jesse from Minneapolis, MN

I've seen a lot of discussion about, "What kind of team are the Packers?" Brian Gutekunst prioritized elite blocking skill players (Lazard, Lewis, and Watkins). The Packers kept the OL/Asst OL/run game coordinator (Stenavich/Butkus). Gutekunst invested in D/ST in the draft/free agency. I don't know if anyone in a position of authority has outright confirmed it to us, but do you read all of this as, "We're changing fundamentally who are: run the ball, play D/ST, grind out wins"?

It's not even about changing anything. It's more embracing the identity of this current team and its personnel. Lazard is a perfect example. LaFleur wasn't even here yet when Gutekunst signed Lazard during the final week of 2018, but the receiver's skill set fit perfectly within LaFleur's scheme. When you have a talented receiver who blocks as well as Lazard does, a coach will want to steer the offense to that player's strengths. And that's just one slice of larger pie.

Steve from Alexandria, VA

What took so long for us to get the tight end in the mix on Sunday? That was baffling.

Robert Tonyan is still on a pitch count, it appears. While he made a great snag on the 20-yard TD down the seam, Tonyan still only played 32 of the 73 offensive snaps. Again, the Packers are playing the long game with their No. 1 pass-catching tight end. Trust the process.

Ron from Mitchell, SD

Lots of chatter about how we almost lost to third-stringer Bailey Zappe. Last time I checked we played the New England Patriots and not Bailey Zappe. Coach Belichick always has his teams ready to play and no one should have expected anything less than that on Sunday.

Fans are entitled to their opinion, but Belichick did an exceptional job of putting Zappe in a position to succeed under less-than-desirable circumstances. The Patriots stayed patient with their wide-zone, and the backs and offensive line did a masterful job of executing. The great coaches put their players in a position to succeed. Belichick did that.

Austin from Manassas, VA

Is Elgton Jenkins really better at RT than Yosh Nijman? Much has been said about his versatility, but even that has limits. Coming off a major injury and playing out of position hasn't been kind to him. With Bak looking like he's going to be back for good and playing very well, I would be surprised if Yosh isn't training at RT.

LaFleur said they're considering everything right now. If David Bakhtiari comes through OK after his 70-snap day, then maybe the Packers have more options with how they want to utilize Jenkins and Nijman. With Jenkins' ability to play all five positions, it allows the rest of the linemen to play in their best spot, as well. The coaches will make the best decision for Elgton and the starting five.

David from Janesville, WI

Inboxers, according to my research (which could be wrong) Kylin Hill can be designated to come off the PUP list after the Jets game. Amari Rodgers seems to have improved in punt returns but kickoffs remain a bit sluggish. Any word on how Hill's recovery is going? Not sure what roster moves make sense to activate him, but if Hill is healthy, he may provide a nice option returning kicks again.

Hill was working out on the field before pre-game warmups on Sunday. You're right in that Hill is eligible to be activated from PUP but the first step is going to be returning to practice. Once that happens, the Packers have a 21-day window to return him to the active roster. I don't expect Green Bay to rush him. You have to walk before you can sprint with these matters.

Michael from Morrison, IL

On the game-winning field goal, Jack Coco deserves a ton of credit. While both Mason Crosby and Pat O'Donnell have been through that situation many times, I can't imagine the nerves going on with the rookie long snapper facing his first such snap.

The kid has been cool as a cucumber since winning the job during training camp. While Coco didn't snap on punts in college, he did quite a bit of short snapping. I thought that's shown up so far. If you watch the replay, the snap was near-perfect. O'Donnell slightly turned the laces and Crosby drilled it home. The quick IG video Mason Crosby did after the game was great, too – two veteran specialists and the undrafted rookie just having a ball.

Ed from Hilltown, PA

When the average points allowed by the defense are calculated, are points resulting from an interception and/or fumble recovery factored into the total or are they excluded because it resulted from a turnover by the offense?

It all counts. Why? No idea. But that's how it goes.

Ed from Hilltown, PA

Why does the NFL consider the nose of the ball crossing the goal line a touchdown on a run (provided knees or elbows don't touch the ground) but a reception caught with a step or two plus knee and/or elbow hitting the ground a split second before the ball is loose not a touchdown? It doesn't seem to make sense.

It's the difference between an objective and subjective play. Because the ball carrier already has established possession of the football during a run, so the play ends in a touchdown once the ball crosses the goal line. On a pass play, the WR must establish possession of the ball first before it's ruled a TD. Those are the rules, Smokey.

JR from Silvis, IL

If Dez's wasn't a catch, Doubs' definitely wasn't a catch. They got the call right.

The receiver has to survive the ground and finish the play. Doubs knows that. Mistakes happen and the rookie will learn from it. As LaFleur said, the main thing is Doubs didn't get into his own head after the play. He bounced back and caught two run alerts on the game-winning drive.

Bud from Boyceville, WI

With Sunday's lack of controlling the Patriots' run game, is it time to entertain the possibility of adding Ndamukong Suh to the team?

No.

Rob from Sorrento, FL

Hi Insiders, what happens with the back judge that completely whiffed on the Patriots' time clock? He didn't miss it by a count, but by three. Is there a process for judges/refs to get properly trained then tested before putting them back on the field? It's not currently reviewable, though it should be, especially if it occurs in the last 5-10 minutes of a half/game.

That was brutal. I totally understand referees missing penalties as they happen in real time. That's human. But missing the expiring play clock is a lack of concentration and I believe somebody should be held accountable. That's the breakaway layup of officiating. Either way, the Packers need to defend the play-action better there.

Steve from Middletown, KY

Good morning. Should the play clock look a little more like the NBA? Maybe even like NASCAR under caution? Flashing yellow or red lights around the stadium wall so the line judge can see it while looking across the ball. No need to look back and forth. Or maybe use the same goal post lasers to disable the ball?

Is it too much to ask to just get the call right? If yes, then I'm on board with a mechanism that disables the football.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, will you be practicing your British accent in the Inbox this week? Besides the language barrier, what are the biggest challenges you face as you go across the pond?

I won't subject anyone to that. I haven't flown overseas in 15 years, so that's going to be different. I just hope the Wifi works. As long as we can send in our stories, I'll be a happy camper.

Jimmy from Plover, WI

With all the non-contact knee injuries, do you think players might start to take playing surfaces into account? Also, is there any data or studies that show it's for sure the surface causing the non-contact injuries?

I'm a strong proponent of grass fields. I feel like you can't beat the real thing, especially when it comes to knee and other lower-body injuries. Von Miller had an interesting take on the "Pat McAfee Show" last week. If you haven't already seen/heard it, you should check it out.

Mike from Franksville, WI

I was at the game Sunday sitting in the corner of the south end zone, so I had a perfect view of this and would appreciate your analysis … just how does a squirrel find itself darting through the south end zone of Lambeau Field? Seriously, where'd that little guy even come from?

The little guy parachuted in at halftime.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Wes, for many Packers fans in Florida, last week can be broken down into three parts: the Bucs game and its afterglow, the fear created by Hurricane Ian, and the hope and distraction tied to the Patriots game. I'm back in Texas now, but many, such as my family in Ft. Myers, could struggle for months. As Nickel, the dachshund, reminded me this morning as he embraced the first kitchen sunshine of the autumn, the wait may be long, but the sun will arrive again. Thanks for keeping things sunny here.

Glad to hear you made it home OK, Dar. All the best to your family.

Brian from Moncks Corner, SC

Some advice from one who has made many a red-eye trip to the UK: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate; take two Tylenol PMs one hour before takeoff to help actually sleep on the plane and avoid swelling/pain upon arrival; be physically very active Friday and Saturday at the UK time for Sunday's kickoff; keep it simple, jet lag impacts the brain as much, if not more than, the "body." That's free. Now the question: Are expectations the worst or best thing about being a fan (fanatic)?

Like pressure, expectations are a privilege. It is what fuels fandom. However, you have to be realistic and appreciate the lifetime NFL winning percentage is .500. For every triumph, there was an equal and opposite setback. Your team is not predestined to win.

Derek from Eau Claire (West London), UK

The big week is finally here! What excites you the most?

The Packers have been around for 103 years and never played a game in England before. It isn't lost on me how privileged I am to observe history on Sunday. In 11 years covering this team, there aren't many "firsts" anymore. So, I'm excited to cross a big item off my NFL bucket list.

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