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Nothing so far defines who the 2023 Packers are going to be


Robbie from Rockford, IL

I think it would be fun if they gave a point for each time hitting the goal post on field goals. If it hit the field goal and went in it would be worth four points and one point if it missed. If they did a double doink that went in, it would be worth five points. I will let myself out now.

One weekend without Packers football, and this is the first submission I open, at halftime of the SNF game. Carry on.

Nathan from Minocqua, WI

Are the Packers wearing their throwbacks this season?

Yes, for one game. I would expect an announcement on which one soon.

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

If the season ended today the Bears would have the first two picks in the 2024 draft. Has an NFL team ever had the first two picks? It happened in the NHL in 1969. Montreal had the first two picks.

The Indianapolis Colts in 1992. They took defensive tackle Steve Emtman and linebacker Quentin Coryatt.

T from Cedar Falls, IA

Good morning, Mike/Wes! Well, starting with the best first-half quarterback performance in Bears history to ending with the most Bears-like implosions in Bears history. You can tell that Fields has a ton of talent. If it was a different team, I could feel bad for them.

I hate to break it to you, folks, but you're going to want the Bears to start winning some games, unless you want Caleb Williams in the NFC North.

Ryan from Colfax, WI

The bye is coming up and the mini-bye this week helps, but with the grueling competition the players put their bodies through is there really such a thing as getting back to 100 percent after an in-season injury? With the high stakes of a 17-game season I imagine that waiting for a complete recovery is a luxury that cannot usually be afforded.

Nope. I've talked with plenty of players who've said, in-season injury or not, once the first couple of games are played, their body is never really whole again until the offseason.

Anthony from Provo, UT

Week 4 had some crazy comebacks and finishes. Vikings won while the Bears lost, and we know what happened a few nights ago at Lambeau. Was there a silver lining for the Packers this weekend?

Nobody else got hurt on Sunday, at least not that I know of.

Will from Rochester, MN

I tell you what, JL10 doesn't have the greatest completion percentage but he throws the ball downfield. He's so confident in his ability to make the high-risk/high-reward throws which reciprocate his completion percentage. If he can master those throws in this year of tempered expectations, we're in for a fun and hopefully productive future. How often are checkdowns scheduled in the called play? 100%? 90%?

There's a checkdown built into practically every play, but if that checkdown target, say a running back or tight end, has to stay in to help pass protect due to a blitz, then that outlet goes away for the QB. And I just want to say this to all the folks out there obsessing over Jordan Love's completion percentage. Carolina's Bryce Young went 17-of-19 in the second half on Sunday, and the Panthers scored zero points. No thanks.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

Which game was the biggest surprise this weekend?

Probably the Texans blowing out the Steelers.

Check out photos from the Week 4 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023.

George from North Mankato, MN

Seems to me that someone at the NFL has been paying attention to and the Inbox. Sunday morning's Toy Story cast of the Jaguars and Falcons seems to be a real-time rip of the Lego replays that have been created. What was your biggest takeaway from Sunday?

That the NFL is alive and well as the week-to-week league it always is. One week after …

…winning by 50, the Dolphins lose by 28.

…losing by 50, the Broncos fall behind by 21 and come back to win.

…losing by 34, the Commanders take the unbeaten Eagles to overtime.

…losing to the lowly Cardinals, the Cowboys hand Bill Belichick the worst loss of his career.

…losing to the Browns 27-3, the Titans beat the Bengals by that identical score, while the Browns lose by almost that identical score (28-3).

…their season was supposedly on life support, the Jets take the Super Bowl champs deep into the fourth quarter.

Vince from Auburn, WA

It just doesn't matter who's throwing the ball to Davante Adams. He is such an exceptional football player who is so much fun to watch, even if he isn't in green and gold anymore. Can you think of another receiver playing right now who has the ability to make any quarterback look so good?

Justin Jefferson is the first one to come to mind.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Mike. Quay Walker must be getting close. What is the Packers' team record for most tackles in a game? Thanks.

That's not a record listed in the team's official media guide, so I don't know. The record for total tackles in a season is Blake Martinez's 203 in 2019, and Walker has 47 through four games, which is a 200-tackle pace over 17 games.

James from Panama City Beach, FL

It will be interesting to see what changes will be made on defense to stop the run. Run defense has been a problem before Barry got the D-coord job and remains a problem. What changes do you see coming? A lot of film to figure out if it's the system or the players.

As usual in these situations, there's fault across the spectrum. I'm just taking a guess here, but I see the potential changes being more situational than wholesale. When I hear LaFleur mention adjusting "philosophy," I think that's deciding which situations to focus more on taking away the run, without so much focus on preventing the big play downfield. Within that, personnel-wise certain players will be deployed in specific situations for the express purpose of taking away the run, paired with perimeter players who will be asked to hold up in those situations without the extra help on the back end they might be accustomed to. That's just me trying to read the tea leaves.

Thomas from Evansville, IN

Why is everyone freaking out? The Lions are a good team. Yes, we have a major issue with the run defense, but let's regroup and move on. I will never understand the mentality that everything is lost over one bad loss.

Me neither. Seasons evolve. I tried to lay the groundwork all offseason for how this season would evolve perhaps more than any since LaFleur arrived. I stand by that. There's a long way to go.

Paul from West Allis, WI

So, we knew not much time between games wasn't going to lead to a whole lot of improvement. So, now we should see something positive. Besides the obvious run defense and complementary football, what would best suit them in the upcoming game?

This team just has to find a way to respond to adversity sooner. When it starts going the wrong way, somebody – whether a player or coach – has gotta find a way to get it turned back around quickly. When Atlanta got rolling, there was no response from either side of the ball. Against the Saints there was no meaningful response until the fourth quarter, which was almost too late. Against the Lions, it wasn't until the second half, and the deficit was enormous. Everyone can talk about fast starts all they want, but that only goes so far if once that wears off, the opponent grabs long-term command. Rather than a fast start, I'm looking for a fast response to the adversity that inevitably hits in every game. Answer as soon as it's needed.

Jerry from Des Moines, IA

I am impressed with JL10. It hasn't been perfect but with only five starts he looks like the real deal. All preseason and training camp the talk was the running game and defense needs to step up, and that hasn't happened yet. If we get the running game going I feel confident in this young QB and offense.

I'm with you there, and an effective running game provides a boost to the pass protection, too. When a ground game is working, it's amazing how much better the pass blocking can get.

Kenton from Rochester, MN

So in the four games they've played so far the Pack have 1) blown out an inferior team on the road, 2) lost a close one on the road after losing a big lead, 3) won a close one at home after overcoming a big deficit, and 4) been blown out by a superior team at home. Seems like a good range of game experiences for a young team to grow from, you think?

That's one way to look at it. Another is the youth is primarily on one side of the ball, and this team has enough veterans to provide more stability to what's going on out there, but those veterans need to be healthy and playing regularly. Yet another is that nothing so far, at least not that I've seen, defines who the 2023 Packers are going to be.

Mark from Westminster, CO

Four games into the season, and I still can't form an identity for this year's team.

Stop trying.

Zak from Huntington Beach, CA

Coaches and players often lament things after a game, wishing they would have done certain things differently or made different calls. As journalists, how often do you experience that feeling? Are there any/many stories you lament not telling when you had the chance, or that you wish you had told in a different manner or framed in a different light?

When it comes to game coverage, there are often little regrets here and there after all the hustle and bustle of postgame work. But I long ago came to peace with the fact that those must be sacrificed for speed, because the expectation is stories will get up sooner than later. If I obsessed over every meticulous detail of a Game Recap or Rapid Reaction piece, people would be waiting too long for it. I cut my teeth in this business at newspapers that had real, hard and fast deadlines. When a posting needs to be timely, such as with breaking news or a postgame story, I always like to say in the online world your deadline is 20 minutes ago.

Rhonda from Italy, TX

Observation: NFC has two 4-0 teams, and also two 0-4 teams. AFC has none. Not sure what (if anything) that means...

It means Week 5 is here. Happy Monday.

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