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Inbox: Davante Adams is a route-running wizard

When in doubt, don’t do the belt

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WR Davante Adams

Brian from South Bend, IN

I'm waiting for the "marked safe from Robert Quinn mocking the belt" meme to start appearing on social media

My advice to the NFL? When in doubt, don't do the belt.

Marc from Holmen, WI

Davante Adams' last touchdown reminded me of an NBA isolation play. The head fake he put on the defender was as good as any AI crossover. Ankles broken, touchdown. My question is was the formation designed to create that matchup, and how could a defense respond to it given it's unlikely any corner can defend him one-on-one?

A truly great comparison. Davante Adams is a route-running wizard. I talk so often about Rodgers being a generational talent but I could cover this team another 20 years and never see a receiver like Adams again. His footwork and finesse are unmatched. On that play, the Packers didn't have any other skill-position players running a route. It was just Adams vs. Jaylon Johnson, one-on-one, mano a mano, and Adams won. His reward was the 69th passing touchdown of his career.

Al from Green Bay, WI

I submitted a question over the bye week in which I noted Allen Lazard's contributions as a blocker, but also his diminished contributions as a receiver. While you didn't post that question, I would now like to officially retract it. How do you account for the dramatic increase in his receiving impact against the Bears?

He's healthy again and was opportunistic against the Bears. To continue the NBA analogies, the Packers very much are a "hot hand" offense outside of Adams. On any given week, it can be Randall Cobb (when he was healthy), Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Lazard that goes off. Lazard understands his role and embraces it. As far as blocking, I don't think one has anything to do with the other. Lazard has a unique set of skills and the Packers tap into all of it.

Brian from Alta Vista, IA

Josiah Deguara is starting to look like what everyone thought Jace Sternberger would/could be.

Mike will have more on Deguara in WYMM later today, but to my near-sighted eyes, that was the former third-round pick's best game to date in a Packers uniform. He looked confident in his route-running, made a few nice plays with the ball in his hands and threw a few nice blocks out of the backfield. That "F" tight end is essential to Matt LaFleur's offense and Deguara looked right at home there Sunday. It was great to see.

Scott from Palos Park, IL

Robert Tonyan is missed of course but Deguara is helping pick up that slack and he is getting some notice for doing so. At the same time Marcedes Lewis has also been stepping up his production lately (he really wanted a score last night). Does the trench work that Lewis does distract from his improved contributions as a receiver this year?

How about the old warhorse on Sunday? In his 200th career start, Lewis had four catches for 51 yards, his most in a game since that fabled three-touchdown performance for Jacksonville in Week 3 of the 2017 season. With four games left, Lewis already has set new season highs in catches (18) and receiving yards (175) during his time in Green Bay.

Michael from Madison, WI

Good morning guys! Wow, Justin Fields is talented, but I think we're training Jordan Love better by not letting him run and focusing on passing. For obvious reasons (check on Lamar Jackson). Unless you're the second coming of Fran Tarkenton, do you think that's a good way to train a rookie quarterback by allowing him to run willy-nilly?

I don't think Fields ran too "willy-nilly." The Bears probably called one QB draw too many but overall, I felt Fields was smart in knowing when to slide. Once he puts it all together, Fields is going to be a good player in this league. He made mistakes Sunday but Fields has a lot of ability.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Do young QBs with a penchant for turnovers grow out of it? Seems No. 12 never went through that. Fields is in that phase. Will he overcome it?

That's what all these teams with young quarterbacks are trying to figure out and only time reveals most of those answers.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, what halftime adjustments did you observe that helped the Packers to be more efficient and productive in the second half of the Bears game?

Greater commitment to the run, which then set up the horizontal passing game. I thought that was a near-perfect plan in the second half, with the steady production of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon allowing Green Bay to seize the tempo.

Logan from Dublin, GA

What has played into the sudden playmaking of Rasul Douglas?

Just a little more attention to detail. Douglas has been a hard worker but Jerry Gray gave him a few pointers on how to work smarter in the film room and it's apparently made all the difference. Douglas was a former third-round pick. He always had greatness in him. Gray just helped the young man to start finding it.

JR from East Moline, IL

Is Douglas the 2010 Tramon Williams 2.0?

That's a pretty good comp, though Tramon was much younger and didn't have Douglas' credentials when the Packers signed him to the practice squad in 2006. The initial 53 is called that for a reason. Every contender is going to have injuries and need new players to step in and step up.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Does Billy Turner's injury impact the decision to activate David Bakhtiari...sooner rather than later?

It's still the same timeline for Bakhtiari, whom LaFleur suggested could be returning to practice this week. Once Bakhtiari is ready, he'll be back. Turner's injury doesn't change that.

Dave from Germantown, TN

Is there anyone left on the offensive lineman tree who might help the Packers if anyone else goes down?

For starters, it does sound like the Packers will get Turner back at some point…which is promising. As far as leftover jars, the Packers have Jake Hanson and Ben Braden on the 53-man roster and Green Bay-area natives, Cole Van Lanen and Jon Dietzen, on the practice squad.

Lambeau Field hosted a Sunday night matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears on Dec. 12, 2021.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Whew, that was insane. I felt like I watched three different games. Special teams, I've been watching Packers games for more than 60 years and I can't remember ever seeing anything worse or more embarrassing by Packer STs. Next four games I expect opponents to force GB to make plays on STs. No kickoffs into the end zone and no punts near the sideline. When receiving, no fair catch and no taking a touchback. Be aggressive and let the Packers implode. Am I wrong Wes?

It was a rough night for the Packers' special teams. There's no other way to put it. They obviously need answers and need them quick because it's almost win-or-go-home season. Matt LaFleur suggested on Monday using an "all-hands-on-deck" approach for the remainder of the regular season and into the playoffs, with starters such as Allen Lazard and Rasul Douglas working back into the fold.

Jim from Marengo, WI

Moving more "starters" to special teams an option to consider...risk/reward?

It's a tricky balancing act. Because you want those veterans who haven't played teams lately to get some reps but you also don't want to expose them to possible injury at this juncture of the season. Overall, I agree with LaFleur. It's probably time.

Thomas from Superior, WI

Hi guys, Aaron's toe has come up again. If the Detroit game is meaningless and they get a bye, wouldn't there be a window for him to have surgery before playoffs?

Possibly…or it could be another week or two to rest. We should get a better idea about where Aaron Rodgers is at on things this Wednesday.

Jason from Austin, TX

Insiders, I don't have all the fixes for special teams, but I can guarantee no more muffed punts. Punt block every punt and rush all 11. If you really need someone back there to catch the ball, put Davante Adams back and only have him fair catch. I bet the long-term results would be a net positive. Just don't rough the punter.

It's important to remember a fair catch is a positive play. It means you secured the possession for your offense and didn't let the ball bounce behind you to lose yards. Everyone wants to run a four-minute mile but most of the time a simple walk will do.

Jeff from Muskego, WI

What's up with our special teams? Why would a guy try to catch a ball going out of bounds at the 5?

I'm not sure if Malik Taylor was trying to go for the old Randall Cobb heads-up play where the returner fields a kickoff with one foot out of bounds to place the ball at the 40 or what? The problem is that ball looked to be bouncing out of bounds on its own, or at the very least, going through the end zone.

Mike from Lake Villa, IL

Good morning Mike and Wes! With all the difficulties the Packers have had this year finding the right person for their return game, how were the Bears able to acquire a player like Jakeem Grant? To put it another way, why weren't the Packers able to get him instead?

In October, the Bears traded a 2023 sixth-round pick to Miami for Grant. I know the gut reaction from most Packers fans will be, "Well, why didn't we trade for him?" when the real question I have is why on earth did the Dolphins agree to that?

Chris from Chicago , IL

Why would anyone ever return a punt from inside their own 5? Probably because he knows he's going against the Packers' coverage unit.

I don't think that had anything to do with it. Grant is just that good. The guy was a second-team All-Pro returner last year. Chris Tabor is one of the best special teams coaches in the NFL. My bet is Grant has full autonomy to make judgement calls on those 50/50 plays.

Mariano from Cerritos, CA

In regards to Mike's comment on special teams, "Opponents are going to exploit this advantage any chance they get," is a scary thought with Ravens coming up next week. I am glad it happened now (against the Bears) and not in the playoffs. What are your thoughts on what we should expect from the Ravens' special teams?

John Harbaugh not only is the best when it comes to special teams but also understanding how strong, disciplined play in that phase carries over to the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. I'm sure the Ravens will be looking to test Green Bay, especially with this game being played in Baltimore. The Packers must respond.

Douglas from Bemidji, MN

The report is that Lamar Jackson is going to play on Sunday. Is this just smoke and mirrors or do you think there is validity to that report? (Or do we just have to wait and see).

That's not a report. It came directly from Harbaugh's mouth, so I would think it's the truth. We'll have to see what Jackson's practice week looks like but I'd be banking on No. 8 taking this field this Sunday. The bigger question is if he does play, how does the sprained ankle affect his playstyle.

Ted from Bruce, WI

Where is Jeff Janis? We could sure use his talent on special teams again!

Please see my previous answers about selling tires.

Joe from Las Vegas, NV

Great rivalry win on Sunday. My question is with the long season, when do you think that rookies start getting worn down?

Maybe two or three weeks ago. The NFL Scouting Combine was 10 months ago. Besides a few weeks off in July, it's been an endless grind for this rookie class.

Jon from Brooklyn Park, MN

Will the NFL go back to six teams in the playoffs? Or are we looking at the new and forever seven-team playoffs format moving forward?

No, the toothpaste is out of the tube. Love or hate it, it's a 14-team postseason now.

Jim from Fairfax, VA

There is an interesting statistic regarding team's nominees for Man of the Year Award. This year, in addition to Packers' Aaron Jones, there are three other former Packers nominated by their teams; Bears/Jimmy Graham, Chargers/Corey Linsley, Patriots/Lawrence Guy. Has any team ever had four "players" nominated before in the same year? Says something about the Packers team and its character.

And don't forget Jamaal Williams is the Lions' nominee for the Art Rooney Sr. Sportsmanship Award. Character creates culture and culture creates championships, in football and every walk of life.

Mike from McFarland, WI

What was the byline for the first sports article you ever had published? I'm sure you have it framed somewhere.

I wrote a story on Suring (WI) High School getting a wooden basketball court installed. Before that, they were one of, if not the last school in the Green Bay Press-Gazette circulation area that still had a tile court. It's the opening page of my newspaper clippings binder at my parents' house.

Clay from Goodyear, AZ

I'd like to refute the implication of poetry as "soft." Examples: "The Iliad," "The Odyssey," "Invictus," "Beowulf." Dean is a real man!

To anyone who doesn't like poetry, I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to readers who rise and sleep under the blanket of the very content that I provide and then question the manner in which I provide it. I'd rather you just say, "Thank you" and go on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you submit some decent questions, and wait for a reply. Either way, I don't give a darn what you think you are entitled to.

Shilo from Murrieta, CA

Happy birthday, Wes! What would you like to the Packers to give you for your birthday?

Thank you, Shilo, but I don't need anything. My cup runneth over. The Packers have given me a life-changing opportunity to support my family and surrounded me with amazing coworkers. That's all I could ask for.

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