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Inbox: By playing for each other, they're winning with one another

It’s well past time the NFL takes notice of what Matt LaFleur is building in Green Bay

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Packers defensive unit

Barry from Sun Prairie, WI

Speaking of the Badgers, can the Packers please draft Leo Chenal when he becomes available? The guy is a beast, and he would look great in Green & Gold!

No. Please tell me that I did not return from my first two-day weekend in four months to be greeted with a "Packers should draft Player X" in Inbox…with NINE games left in the regular season. You did not do that to me, Barry. Barry, you did not do that to me. Tell me you didn't do that, Barry.

Gene from Sarasota, FL

Based upon WYMM review, it appears that Dean Lowry's sack was partially attributable to Rashan Gary and Kenny Clark staying in their lanes such that Kyler Murray's ability to roll left or right as an escape route was not available. So, a disciplined rush definitely has its merits and, in fact, this was in evidence throughout this game. Kudos to the defensive line and linebacker coaches and player personnel.

In my opinion, that's been one of the secrets in the Packers' defensive sauce without Za'Darius Smith and Jaire Alexander. By playing for each other, they're winning with one another. Lowry addressed the chemistry he's built with Gary on stunts and twists in his media session with reporters last Tuesday. The stunts those unlikely partners are running sometimes lead to Gary making a play and sometimes resulting in a sack for Lowry. Either way, it's negative-yardage plays and production.

Dale from Fenton, MI

Confidence. On play No. 3 of Mike's excellent WYMM, love "29's" swagger in front of the Cardinals' bench at the end of the play.

There have been veterans who came in during the season and looked like they've belonged. What stands out to me the most about Rasul Douglas is he's playing like he was here all summer and maybe well before then. His swagger jumps off the page. That was apparent from his first snap last month.

Cliff from Kentville, Nova Scotia

OK, the Pack has scored 24 points in our last three wins, and ML and Aaron Rodgers have recently been referring to our offense as "less than efficient." If the offense continues with that trend, will our defense be able to keep KC in check enough to pull out a win? Will our offense have to exercise some more of the ball control they showed in Arizona to help them out?

The offense will come around. I have zero doubt about that – and perhaps as soon as this Sunday if Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are back in the lineup with Allen Lazard. The key, for me, is the defense continuing to improve throughout the year. The goal is to get Za'Darius Smith and Alexander back at some point, but games will need to be played without them before that can happen. The KC game will be another major test, but the Packers' defense has been in this spot before.

Tim from Duluth, MN

The game plan that ML and his coaching staff came up with and the players executed had to be one of, if not the best one since he become head coach of the Packers. I went into that game thinking that a win was going to be unlikely. Also, those who say that the Packers got lucky because of Green not looking for the ball apparently didn't see that Douglas was, and he made a great play to catch it.

Considering all the players (and coordinator) the Packers were missing, I'd put that one up there as one of the best pound-for-pound coaching jobs by a Green Bay staff during my time on the beat. Was it perfect? No. But neither were the circumstances.

Joe from Wausau, WI

The battle for NFL Coach of the Year might be come down to the current Packer coach and the previous one. Both had impressive road wins, one without a bunch of starters, the other without his starting QB. I know it's early, but this could be an interesting sideshow as we head into the second half of the season. I'm thinking the fact the Cowboys are coming off a losing season might give Mike McCarthy the edge. Who ya got?

With respect to McCarthy – and I've spoken at great length about the job he's done in Dallas this year – LaFleur is Coach of the Year material. He has been the past two years, as well. Healthy or injured, high expectations or none, LaFleur's teams consistently produce. It's well past time the NFL starts to recognize what LaFleur is building in Green Bay. Because people are missing one hell of a show.

Al from Green Bay, WI

I'm a big fan of WYMM. It's great to get the All-22 view of some of these plays. Watching the secondary work together to cover the route combinations helps us to understand the split-second decisions that have to be made on the back end. Given a choice, would you prefer to watch the entire game with this view (when watching on TV)?

That's the drawback. I remember talking with my former colleague, Eric Baranczyk, at the Press-Gazette when he was trying to get a credential for home games. A rookie scribe, I asked him why one day. He said because you can't see the big picture on TV and you miss the whole story. And Eric was right. As much as I love sitting with Spoff in a meeting room and watching the game, nothing compares to sitting in a press box and seeing things develop in real time. That's why I respect what Spoff has done with WYMM this year, in particular. Because a lot of times he's picking up on things we hadn't even seen in real time yet.

Mark from West Des Moines , IA

What do you think the Packers' best option is moving forward at the TE position now that Robert Tonyan is lost for the season?

If there's someone out there who makes sense, especially on the waiver wire, then I say go for it. But I wouldn't sell the farm for a rented tight end. The Packers still have four tight ends on the roster and Allen Lazard at their disposal. I'll have more on that later this morning on packers.com.

Joseph from Salt Lake City, UT

Does ML watch the MNF game? Or just watch the film he desires to watch when its finished?

He checked it out, but it's not like the Packers pulled all their players and coaches in the main meeting room to dissect the Manning Cast Monday night. They watched the game and got back to work on the plan they've already been developing.

Randy from Sterling, IL

A factoid missed from you both not being in AZ is how much crowd noise impacted what may have been a check-down on the final play. Have you received any insight about that? No team travels as well as GB.

It sounds (no pun intended) like it was a real nuisance. As a few of you pointed out, it's not just how well Packers fans travel but also the fact so many Packers fans are embedded in NFL cities from coast-to-coast (AM). Many folks who can't get to Lambeau Field for a game jump at the opportunity to drive an hour or so to see them locally. I know my friend, Matteo Rubinato, does.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. Did Krys Barnes slide down the ILB depth chart? It seems like his snaps have decreased while Oren Burks' playing time has increased lately. Thanks.

Actually, it was more the opposite. Barnes played most of the Arizona game next to De'Vondre Campbell. His 38 defensive snaps played were his second-most of the season. That could have been because the Packers wanted a simpler approach without Joe Barry and position coach Kirk Olivadotti relaying calls to Campbell, but Barnes still is a big part of this defense.

The Green Bay Packers held practice on Clarke Hinkle Field on Monday, Nov. 1, 2021.

Logan from Plover, WI

Not so much a question as a statement: Forget about Matt LaFleur's supposed need to improve his goal-line play calls. Sean Payton called three passes in a row, starting on first-and-goal, and ended up giving Tom Brady an extra minute and a timeout to play with because of it. Even the home fans started booing, which is rare for a team playing with the lead in the fourth quarter. Lucky for him his defense came through, otherwise that press conference would have been brutal.

Unless a team sees something on film that can be exploited, I'm convinced every team should just run it on first-and-goal. Even if you get stuffed, the defense must consider whether you'll run again, go play-action or pass on second down. If you pass on first down and it falls incomplete, it sort of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Randy from Ooltewah, TN

Two serious injuries on one kick return in last Thursday's game. Do you see the NFL doing more to regulate the kick return out of the game? I like, for example, the college rule of allowing a fair catch of the kickoff in the field of play (not just the end zone) and being awarded the ball at the 25-yard line or spot of the fair catch. Do you like that idea? Also, I always want a kickoff in the end zone as a touchback. Ty Montgomery and Kylin Hill are Exhibits 1 and 2 to support my case.

I used to think the changes to the kickoff were ruining football. Now, I think they might be saving it. It was a scary play, for both Jonathan Ward and Hill, but the problem is Ward didn't do anything illegal. It was just a poor form tackle but he didn't deserve to be injured on the play. Listen, it's a QB-driven league, right? The rules are tailored to that reality. Just give the guys everyone wants to see the football. So, no, I wouldn't be disappointed in the slightest by just having offenses start at the 25. Returners will still have value on punt returns, which are important now more than ever.

Rob from Aiken, SC

After a glance at the standings, I noticed the Packers at 7-1 are only plus-25 in point differential. Pretty remarkable when you look at other teams in that range. 3-5 Indy at plus-17, 3-5 Seattle and Philly, 3-4 Minnesota, and 4-4 Carolina all at plus-12. Only the Raiders at 5-2 plus-14, and the Ravens at 5-2 plus-23 are close. In your opinion does something have to give at some point or can this team keep winning these "just barelies"?

I guess. Honestly, I haven't thought much about point differential. The Packers lost by 35 points to New Orleans in an anomaly in Week 1. So, yeah, it's gonna take few games to burn that loss off.

Blake from Marion, IA

Good morning! Getting a bigger lead in the North is great, as winning the division is priority No. 1 each year. At what point though would the Vikings beating the Cowboys be a better scenario for the Pack? If we take care of our business in our division, the Lions, Vikings, and Bears won't catch us. More losses for other contenders might be helpful. Go Pack Go!

Spoff presented this question to me last week and I didn't have a good answer for him. If you have confidence in your ability to run the table in the NFC North, then I suppose it would've benefitted the Packers for the Vikings to de-cleat the Cowboys. However, it's well-documented how I favor the bird in the hand over the two in Spoff's hydrangeas. In my opinion, it's too early to talk about playoff implications. There's still so much that could happen by December. What's real is the Packers have a 3½-game lead in the NFC North. And it's spectacular.

Nathan from Lino Lakes, MN

When I think of RBs or QBs changing teams I imagine the transition is difficult because there are so many scheme/language updates that the player has to be brought up to speed on while making sure the rest of the team is following the same direction. Will Von Miller have an easier time as a DE or am I vastly underestimating the complexity of that position coming into a new role, on a new team?

There's always going to be some transition involved with a new scheme but it seems like a friendlier move for edge rushers than other positions (e.g. Whitney Mercilus coming in and playing right away in Green Bay).

Jacob from Superior, WI

Well, looks like the Rams are going all-in!

I guess so. "Rounders" is one of my all-time favorite movies, so naturally my eyes gravitated towards the video of Teddy KGB (John Malkovich) going all-in vs. Mike McDermott…seconds before he loses the hand in spectacular, walk-off fashion. All kidding aside, this trade led to a lot of folks asking about that Rams game on Nov. 28. It's huge, but like my Cowboys-Vikings answer, the Packers are still three games away from needing to worry about that. Just like Green Bay had to fight through Cincinnati, Chicago and Washington to get to the Arizona matchup, it must not do the same with KC, Seattle and Minnesota.

Curt from Springfield, MO

Special-teams tackling has been a major weakness of the Packers in recent years and this year is no exception. There is a special-teams expert, Dylan Cole, that's available. He leads the Texans in special-teams tackles and was voted a team captain in 2020. Cole, although short at 6-feet, has the same or better vertical than most linebackers that are 6-5. He bench presses the same or more and he can run down running backs from behind. He is available and a bargain. Why isn't he a Packer?!

Because you're not the GM, evidently.

Brandon from Pleasant Prairie, WI

With all the hype that went into the Cardinals game, then how the game played out and ended, it was like the equivalent of winning the NFC Championship Game. That being said, is it possible that come the Chiefs game, GB is still on a hangover?

You mean like how Washington was a trap game?

Gregory from Westerville, OH

Guys, I see the media talking heads are now moving the Packers up to No. 1 as the best team in the NFL. It reminds me of the 2002 season when we were also No. 1 in the media rankings with an identical 7-1 record. We ended up 12-4 that year, but major injuries later decimated the team, which resulted in a 27-7 trouncing by the Michael Vick-led Atlanta Falcons in the playoffs to give the Packers their first-ever home defeat in a playoff game at Lambeau. Half-season rankings are meaningless.

You said it man.

Thomas from Cedar Rapids, IA

Kudos to the Lego folks! Very well done. The only thing it didn't have was the lights dimming.

If you haven't had a chance to check it out yet, please do. They're always must-watch content but this week's production was exceptional. I was glad this one got some extra love on social media.

Rusty from Eustace, TX

I guess it's the kid in this 60-year-old body, but I really enjoy the Lego replays. Hats off to the team that puts them together and their attention to detail is impressive. My question is are were going to start seeing memes on the Lego replay of Rodgers?

They should. If you don't love those Lego videos, you don't have a pulse…or you're a Bears fan who blindly clicked the link your Wisconsinite friend forwarded you.

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