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Inbox: Don't allow a full highlight reel

Things can turn quickly in this league

Packers RB A.J. Dillon; Vikings S Harrison Smith
Packers RB A.J. Dillon; Vikings S Harrison Smith

Bob from Wellington, CO

If the NFL controls the websites how come ours is the only great one?

Ah, flattery will get you nowhere, Bob. Except the occasional intro to the column.

Smithers from Toronto, Canada

Will Robert Rochellbe able to suit up this weekend following his long journey from Milan to Minsk, then Lambeau?

I was waiting with great anticipation for someone to throw that my way.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

I understand and fully accept the NFL maintenance preventing the posting of II on Wednesday. It even made my Thursday morning a bit brighter having two columns to read, but the time stamp claims the II was posted at 8:30 a.m. like normal.

That's just because we had so many things to post at once when the light finally went green, we had to do some arranging. But everything truly is back to normal now. We hope.

Brady from Iowa City, IA

Hello, I am curious what the day-to-day operations for the GM are during the week. I am 90% sure I just walked past Brian Gutekunst in downtown Iowa City. Can GMs take days off during the middle of the week like that?

If you indeed saw Gutey in downtown Iowa City, I can assure you it's not a day off. He's almost certainly scouting Hawkeyes practices. Just as Thompson did for many years, Gutekunst will be on the road scouting during the week and then be back with the team for game weekends.

Ron from Appleton, WI

Looking at the upcoming game against Minnesota, my biggest concern is their pass rush. Your biggest concern?

Four players: Danielle Hunter and Harrison Smith on defense, Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson on offense. Those guys are going to do their thing and lead their respective units. They'll make their plays. But the Packers can't let them control the game. Have answers, limit them to moments, and don't allow a full highlight reel.

Mark from Genoa, IL

I hope I'm wrong, but after watching the Vikings beat the 49ers, I'm not too optimistic about Sunday's game at Lambeau. Cousins was outstanding, their offensive line dominated, and their defense blitzed often. Do you think we can overcome that trifecta?

Protect the football and take it away. The Packers haven't won the turnover battle since Week 2. Do that and let's see what happens.

Aaron from Tucson, AZ

I don't believe for a millisecond ML is not working his tail off as HC. In fact, I think being a "worker" may be one of his defining qualities, one of the first adjectives of which I think when considering his positive qualities. "Genuine" and "accountable" are others. Which means he genuinely cares about how this team performs and takes the onus on himself to produce answers, no matter how long it takes. I, for one, hope his first three years buy him the time required to navigate this.

He also pulled last year's team – a very different one, obviously – out of a nearly two-month spiral to get back in the hunt. It cuts both ways that things can turn quickly in this league.

Jeff from Kent, WA

When the Packers drafted Lukas Van Ness from Iowa there was considerable hype and enthusiasm from fans and Insiders, many of whom referred to him as a "beast" with comparisons to Watt from Pittsburgh and Hutchinson from Detroit. Six games into the season I certainly haven't seen those predictions come anywhere near to reality, and his anticipated pass-rush potential has yet to develop into even an average contribution. Any thoughts on why his development or contribution has been what it is?

He's behind two established veterans and has played 35% of the defensive snaps so far, about two dozen per game. I view his rookie year much the same as Rashan Gary's back in 2019, and the development will come.

Tim from Macon, MO

Good AM and many thanks for all you two and your crew do for the bestest fans anywhere! Could you please describe what a practice session looks like for a player designated as FP, LP and DNP? I know what the abbreviations mean but what does an LP or DNP actually do that particular day? Have a great day and everyone just BACK THE PACK! We're gonna get thru this funk yet!

DNP means the player did not practice at all, and was most likely rehabbing. Full participation (FP) means the player executed his usual amount of drills and reps as though he's not injured. Limited participation (LP) usually means the player at least took part in some individual drills. It can also mean he took some 11-on-11 snaps, but we don't know that and it's not required to be specified.

H.R. from Henderson, NV

Is Eric Stokes ever going to come back and play? He's missed 14 of the last 15 games, and will now miss at least the next four. That is more than a full season. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt here, but a player's best attribute is availability. And Stokes simply hasn't been.

His foot injury from last November was significant, requiring major surgery. That procedure and recovery can take up to a year for a player to get back. He was on track to return before that, but he had some hamstring issues crop up toward the end of his rehab that delayed him, and the hamstring trouble has now resurfaced. It's a tough deal.

Tanner from Edgerton, WI

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but as of late I've tried to focus on the All-22 and I'm seeing fairly frequently that we have two receivers seemingly in the same area, running a similar route. This takes both receivers out of the progression as one side of the field is shut down. Thoughts on why this continues to happen this far into the season as maturation should be (and has been) expected?

I can't say I've seen that "fairly frequently." Unfortunately, a route miscue has occurred in each of the last two games on a third down, and what should've been fairly easy conversions wound up as killed drives instead. Timing is everything with routes. The timing of mistakes also matters, greatly.

Bob from Fredericksburg, VA

Hey gents, don't envy your job during these trying times. Also know that I have been a fan since the '60s and will always bleed green and gold no matter what. I know this is a touchy subject, but I have to ask … If Jordan Love continues to show no improvement, would you expect Sean Clifford to get a shot? Taking into account his preseason performance, and the thoughts of giving the offense a "shot in the arm" so to speak? I can't be the only one thinking along these lines.

No, you're not, but the Packers are going to give Love every opportunity to learn and grow this season. He's not going to get better by sitting, certainly not after a half-dozen games or half a season. The young players around him who need to improve as well are not going to make the progress they need to with a QB switch to a rookie. The group needs to learn and grow together. I agree things have looked awfully stagnant and similar for multiple games now, but health permitting, this is Love's season.

Donna from Minneapolis, MN

What do you think about this offense going a little more with a hurry-up offense sometimes? When you look at Love he seems so down on himself. I always thought going hurry-up took QBs out of their heads and let them go with instinct (which I think he has). If I remember history right, McCarthy used to do that with a young Rodgers.

He did, and it's a valid suggestion. I'm admittedly torn on it, though. The missed blocks and route mix-ups are as big a factor with the offensive struggles as Love's growth process, and I'm not convinced going hurry-up will magically fix those. That said, if a particular offensive personnel group gets what LaFleur believes is a collectively favorable matchup against the defense, I could see him calling for the hurry-up to prevent the defense from substituting and see what they could accomplish.

Jeff from Ely, MN

Good morning! I spent a little time at another Packer media outlet (apologies, I needed a little fix during your unplanned "dark period" – chortle) and much was made of the slow starts the offense has endured and how scripting the first 15 plays would help. I've heard that term many times but am not sure what exactly it means? Can you explain the concept please? What is the goal of scripting plays? If play execution is the problem, then it really doesn't matter what system is used, right?

This was brought up in last week's live blog, and the concept of "opening scripts" is badly misunderstood by many. It's not a true script. It's the initial thoughts or plays on the call sheet for various situations – the first handful of plays in normal down/distance, the first third-and-manageable, third-and-long, short-yardage, red zone, goal-to-go, etc. It's the top priorities in different situations they want to try against a particular opponent, based on the defensive looks they're anticipating in those spots. If the defense breaks profile and makes other calls, the offense pivots and adjusts as needed.

Zak from Huntington Beach, CA

NFL playbooks are notoriously sesquipedalian and verbose. To draw a parallel to the culinary world, a QB calling a play sounds like a chef naming every individual ingredient in their recipe instead of just saying "kung pao chicken." Are you surprised that a team hasn't tried something more concise, such as a numerical system? I mean, if they can number 100-plus items on a Chinese takeout menu, why can't they number a playbook? Oh, and "kung pao" would absolutely be a play-action deep shot.

Sesquipedalian is my new favorite word.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

Mike, humor me with an odd baseball fact leading into the World Series. Every team that has eliminated the Brewers since 2018 has made the World Series. LA in '18 and '20, the Nats in '19, Braves in '21, Phillies grabbed the last wild card by one game over us in '22 and the Diamondbacks this year. Strange since only one of those years did the Brewers play in the LCS. Hoping that the Rangers can finally get their first championship.

The trend of the team eliminating the Brewers from the postseason reaching the World Series spans the entire history of the franchise, starting with the '81 Yankees in the strike-shortened season, and including the '08 Phillies and the '11 Cardinals. It's almost hard to fathom. I, too, am rooting for the Rangers. It pained me to see the Cards win it all in '11, and the way the Rangers lost that World Series was absolutely brutal.

Chuck from Henderson, NV

How about the Packers score at least one TD in the first half, block and tackle better, and force at least one turnover on Sunday?

Works for me.

Josh from Newhall, CA

Even though this team really doesn't feel "on the verge," it's helpful to remember the 2006 team started 4-8 before winning the final four enroute to a 13-3 2007 (granted with a HOF QB). As recently as last year, the Lions were 1-6 before becoming the darlings of the NFL down the stretch. I'm in no way making predictions, but the light bulb could click on for this team at any time, even the last couple of weeks. I'm practicing my slow-breathing.

The 1-6 Lions of 2022 started their surge … (checks notes) … at home against the defending NFC North champs. Just sayin'.

Tim from Cedar Springs, MI

As much as we care about winning (that, after all, is the point of a sports season), much more important is for everyone not to overreact. Not the fans, not the players, not the coaches, not the front office. What is most important is this team growing up together. Learning together, and overcoming challenges together. Then, and only then, will we all benefit from this season. If you aren't challenged, you won't grow. So grow.

Happy Friday.

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