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Inbox: Chip and a chair, baby

The proof is in the production for Aaron Jones and the Packers’ ground game


Greg from Ann Arbor, MI

The beard is gone. The 'stache is back. Here we go.

It's on like Donkey Kong! Good morning!

Dylan from Bozeman, MT

Chip and a chair, baby.

That's the headline! That's the headline!

Griffin from Belmont, NC

As fans of this team, we all have a little bit of hope but it is surprising that a lot of the "experts" outside of the team are still saying the Packers will go on a streak and sneak into the playoffs. I figured we would have been written off by now. Is this because of No. 12, the remaining schedule, or a combination of both?

It's because they've seen the Packers do the impossible before. It doesn't matter whether it was rallying back to win the division and make the playoffs in 2013 or running the table two years ago. The favorable schedule helps, but this team is capable of amazing things when Aaron Rodgers is behind center. But this is a unique challenge with how well the Bears are playing. I acknowledge there's less sand in the hour glass than in previous years.

Brad from Saukville, WI

Mike, after looking at the remaining schedules for the opponents out of your "four of five things to happen in order to make the playoffs," it's definitely favorable for the Packers except the Seahawks' schedule. If Vikings and Chiefs beat the Seahawks, then I'm foreseeing this all come down to Week 17 Vikings vs. Bears. What do you think?

It always seems to come down to that finale in the NFC North, with last year being one of the lone exceptions.

Kristen from Surprise, AZ

In response to Andrew, I'm an Arizona native but a Packers fan. However, I can tell you that Larry Fitzgerald is one of the most respected sports figures we have. He does so much for the community and tries very hard to set an example for the kids he knows look up to him. Good for your son to recognize an athlete with a character we can all respect.

I don't know Larry Fitzgerald, but a few close friends of mine have covered him for years. They can't say a bad word about the guy. He's an accountable player in the locker room and an affable personality away from football. By all accounts, it appears he has a good chance to be one of the few to begin and end his NFL career in the same place. It doesn't get any better than that.

Craigly from Grand Rapids, MI

Why does everyone cry – fans, national media – about us not spending high picks on offense? If you can find diamonds in the rough and groom them into superstars, what's wrong with that? Davante, Bakhtiari, and many more over the years, who cares where they were drafted! Oh btw we only picked Aaron because he fell to us at 24.

I'm not a big fan of the argument the Packers haven't invested high-round picks into the offense. Was there any reason to draft a receiver in the first round when Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones and Greg Jennings were at the peak of their powers? And when they finally did, they wanted Davante Adams. If you hit a first- or second-rounder, that likely means you don't need to spend another pick on the same position the following year. The same can be said for Bakhtiari when the Packers nabbed him in the fourth round and he wound up being the best one in a draft where offensive tackles went first and second overall.

Tom from Pine River, WI

Is it accurate to say the Packers' main strategy in their passing game is to extend the play? Meaning, the receiver will be asked to run his initial pass pattern and then switch to "scramble" mode. It seems to be putting a lot of pressure on these new receivers to be on the same page as Rodgers. It's also asking a lot of the offensive line.

I wouldn't say it's the main strategy, but it's the NFL. If the ball is live, you have to extend the play. I mean what else do you expect? If you're hungry and digging through your fridge, aren't you going to keep looking until you find something you want to eat?

Corbin from Plymouth, WI

At this point, I am trying to find some of the Packers' young players as intriguing candidates to step up and make some big plays. I will be closely watching Josh Jones, Ibraheim Campbell, and Reggie Gilbert, among others. Who do you think are some notable candidates and why?

I want to see more of Campbell. I actually think he's played pretty well for a guy who wasn't here a month ago. He showed good technique on a couple of those tackles Sunday night. Campbell also had to handle the personal protector role against Minnesota with Raven Greene out. The Packers may need him again this week if Greene and Kentrell Brice can't go against the Cardinals after not practicing Wednesday.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

What should the Packers be able to do really well against the Cardinals?

Run the football. The Cardinals actually are top five in the NFL against the pass, but are giving up the third-most rushing yards per game (144.8 average) this season. The Vikings, who are 30th in rushing this year, put up 195 rushing yards against Arizona in Week 6. It's easy to say every week should be an Aaron Jones week, but this particular matchup screams No. 33.

Noel from Norwalk, CA

Here we are, three-fourths of the season gone and hoping four of five things happen this weekend. I'm hearing a faint singing sound coming from the hollows of Lambeau Field. With all the "ism's" floating around, it's spinning my head like a top. I truly believe "deep" down inside, the players know the postseason is getting precariously close to falling off the cliff. Like true warriors, they "strap" on their equipment, wage battle on the field sacrificing their bodies for the glory of the team. "I Believe"

The team hasn't quit and it's not going to quit. That's embedded in the culture. It's why the Packers haven't been blown out of the water by anyone this year, either. The Cards are reeling and have never won at Lambeau Field (0-7). If there is to be a turnaround, it must start Sunday.

Aaron from Watertown, SD

When is Randall Cobb expected to be back in the lineup? He seems to be a good possession receiver on some of the short-yardage plays on third down that we seem to be missing. He and Jordy used to be great at coming back to the ball for Rodgers when he scrambles. I hope he is back soon.

There's no question the offense misses Randall Cobb. You simply cannot replace that experience and his chemistry with QB1. Soft-tissue injuries are tricky because there's so much subjectivity.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

I'm interested to hear what you guys thought of the play-calling against the Vikings. I thought the end-around with ESB and that slow-to-develop fake end-around to screen pass to Jones seemed out of character to what is usually called. Do you think they were out of desperation? I thought they were refreshing to see. I can't remember the last time I saw plays like that from the Packers, but I don't get to watch every game. Thanks.

So all Spoff and I hear for weeks is you guys telling us how the Packers need to run a jet sweep. When they finally do one, now you're asking if it was out of desperation. No. They've done jet sweeps in the past. Jeff Janis had a couple nice runs the past couple years on end-arounds. They practice them during training camp just like any other play.

Luke from La Crosse, WI

Question: "You can't just play one way all the time. You have to be able to execute in a variety of ways to have any sustained success." Right, but can't the team stick with what's working? Ever? How many times did they hand the ball off in the second half these last two games against teams rushing four and playing pass? If the run or the quick pass is working, then do it until the other team stops you. I've never seen a multidimensional offense be so stubborn.

Spoff has answered this. I have answered this (as recently as this past week). We told you what the answer is for why the offense does what it does. You can't live in one package. Not at this level. For example, look at what Mike Pettine said last week about mixing man and zone coverage because you can't allow the offense to zero in on tendencies. It's the same principle on offense. The common thread needed is tempo. Those are the facts.

Tom from Iron River, WI

It's not a season to enjoy so far, but isn't it a good sign that the Gutekunst era holds promise for the future with so many first-year players getting significant playing time? I'd say his first draft was a success and look forward to two first-round picks in the spring.

What stands out to me is how many of the young players the Packers have added over the past year look the part. I think Jaire Alexander, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown have looked wise beyond their years given the roles they've had to play. JK Scott's leg also has come as advertised. I know he's not a first-year player, but Ibraheim Campbell also has impressed me after being an extremely late addition to the roster. Gutekunst knows what he's doing. He's been preparing for this moment for the past two decades.

Al from Green Bay, WI

You are Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks. Your team is 2-9, traveling to Lambeau Field in December to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, who have not lost at home this year. What is your strategy?

Full disclosure – I haven't watched the Cardinals play for one minute this year, but had David Johnson on my fantasy football roster in 2016, and unfortunately, 2017. With the issues Arizona has had in the passing game, I'd feed Johnson the ball 25-30 times a game – this week and moving forward. He's a playmaker and should be the best friend to a rookie quarterback like Josh Rosen. That's just one man's extremely uninformed opinion, but you asked the question.

Jason from Austin, TX

I think McCarthy's best offenses were when he had a reliable fullback he could play around with. Imagine Aaron Jones running with a leading fullback. Aaron Ripkowski is a free agent. I'm just saying. The three Aarons. Triple-A. Sounds like a winner to me.

I get the love for Ripkowski but don't believe the lack of a fullback has affected the offense very much. I mean the proof is in the production – Aaron Jones is averaging 6.0 yards per carry. Lance Kendricks is a prototypical H-back and Marcedes Lewis has been an effective blocker out of the backfield when called upon.

Austin from Manassas, VA

Before the season opener, I was super disappointed we didn't get Mack. We could have 10 first-round picks next year and not get a player as good as he is. Then we had our first game and I was wondering what Gute was thinking as we played. The truth is, I thought we were one player away, and yes, Mack probably would have been a difference-maker in a few of our games, but I'm glad we have those first-rounders now as well as cap space for FA moves.

No player is worth 10 first-round picks. Maybe in the NBA, but not in this league. There are way too many variables and annual turnover.

Jeff from Hixton, WI

Now all we need is Jon Da Brat at fullback running behind de Beer.

I figured you guys would have fun with this one.

Rick from Mounds View, MN

I think Alex from Irondequoit, NY, was referring to the new tackle that was signed: Gerhard de Beer.

It was a long Tuesday for everyone. The young man has a pretty interesting story. He's a native of South Africa who put on a ton of weight to make the switch from tight end at the University of Arizona to offensive line. He also was a star in track and field before opting to pursue football.

Darren from Wishaw, Scotland

Things haven't gone to plan, but this is the time to stick together and see where the rest of the season takes us. I think it's time for everyone to kick back on the 50-yard line with a warm bowl of Campbell's Chunky Soup and enjoy the ride.

Campbell's Chunky Soup, the official soup partner of the Green Bay Packers. We'll be right back after these messages here on "Packers Unscripted." Did I get that all right?

Dayv from Hustisford, WI

If this was Madden and I put in Kizer, I could have him up to a 90 overall by the end of the season. Just saying.

As someone who once got Ryan Leaf to 84, I'm not impressed.

Tony from Oak Lawn, IL

I really like the gray sweater I've seen both Mike and Wes wear on "Unscripted." It is grey with a green stripe over with it and the Packers logo. I've looked all over the Packers Pro Shop and cannot find it. I'm trying to give you guys money. Mike wore it on the Nov. 28 Packers Daily.

Those were actually outfits from the 2016 season, but the Packers Pro Shop always has dress shirts and sweaters on their site. **Check it out**.

Daniel from Castle Rock, CO

In regards to the question about the "team snack" from the mid-week chat, I work at a hotel and the answer is this: the snack consists of anything and everything you can think of – protein shakes, pasta bars, any kind of meat, energy bars, and omelet stations. The list is endless. These guys pack in the calories and there is always a nutritionist involved in the planning.

And here I thought it was just Capri Sun and Nutty Bars.