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Inbox: Expect nothing less tonight

These young Packers receivers need to play – and play together

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LB Preston Smith

Bil from Stateline, NV

A very Happy Birthday to young...Weston, Jr.? Congrats to Wes (Sr.?) for being an involved, proud Pop. Keep up the good work.

Thanks, Bil (Sr.)? It was a great birthday and very memorable weekend. I actually just left Chuck E. Cheese to start this Inbox. Boy, I'm sure Vic would love that line. Good gameday morning!

Al from Green Bay, WI

After the weekend football games, do you know who looks dominant/scary/unbeatable? Nobody.

This weekend was another reminder football is an imperfect game. Consistency, and sometimes a little luck, wins.

George from North Mankato, MN

Well, seems like the zebras might have been rooting for the Giants. More fodder for the water cooler?

I get all publicity is good publicity, but can that really be true when everyone is talking so negatively about your product on a weekly basis? None of this officiating chatter is new. After the game, you had every major sports media site commenting on that final sequence for Washington, with the non-call on the defensive pass interference serving as the coup de grâce. I don't know how much longer we can keep doing this. I feel terrible for Washington's players and coaches. They didn't deserve to lose that game in that fashion.

Joe from Eau Claire, WI

Good morning! Were the results of the Sunday noon games the most unfavorable combination possible? We wanted the Eagles to lose, the Cowboys to win, and Detroit to lose. All three scenarios went the other way. But boy were they all close!

It wasn't the best. Not that I was expecting Chicago to win but Philadelphia is running away with the NFC. If the Eagles clinch the bye before Week 18, then the question becomes how much rest is too much rest? That's what the Packers had to weigh last year. Hopefully, the Eagles keep playing their core as they'll close the regular season against the Giants. With Seattle and Washington losing, the Packers need both of those teams to keep dropping games over the next three weeks. You also hope the Cowboys have something to play for in Week 18.

Austin from Manassas, VA

All the talk about Romeo Doubs' return and seeing him and Christian Watson work together has me wanting to temper expectations. He's still a rookie. He has struggled a bit with consistency/drops and missed a bunch of time. I just want to see him healthy and catching the ball. We'll see where it goes from there.

I agree with keeping expectations modest, but your point illustrates the importance of getting Doubs back out there. Win or lose, these young receivers need to play – and play together. It's as good of a glimpse as the Packers are gonna get in relation to the future of their perimeter offense.

The Green Bay Packers held practice at Clarke Hinkle Field on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022.

Perry from Ishpeming, MI

Happy Monday before Christmas! I hope you all get to enjoy the holiday! With Donald not playing, who's the player the Pack needs to neutralize on the Rams' D? And conversely, who needs to be stopped or limited on their offense? For me, Bobby Wagner and Tyler Higbee. Need to get a body on Wags and keep an eye on Higbee with the block and release. Thanks again for all you do for us! Go Pack Go!

Bobby Wagner. He's the ageless wonder and affects all aspects of the game. Offensively, Higbee is a chain-mover. He has a very similar role to Robert Tonyan here.

Bob from Plymouth, WI

Can you tell us what records Mason Crosby has set or will likely set this season?

Tonight, Crosby will tie Brett Favre's franchise record of 255 consecutive games played. And before you say, "Oh, well, he's just a kicker," Crosby actually broke Morten Anderson's record for consecutive games played by a kicker in Buffalo on Oct. 30. If he stays healthy, Crosby will surpass London Fletcher for fourth all-time in consecutive games played (257). More on Crosby's ironman streak later this morning.

Scott from Hudson, WI

Hi guys, still looking for some insights on our defense's poor performance, but quoting Wes, "I don't ban people as much as I just quit on them," so hopefully you haven't quit on me but…the defense is 29th against the run and not much better against the pass and third down has been an issue all year. So, give us some insight on how the Packer coaching and GM can turn this defense around to help chase a championship next season? Thanks for not quitting on me/us.

It's a fair question and we're not banning (y'all's word, not mine) folks for asking fair questions. The tough part about answering it is that it's been a problem the Packers have dealt with over multiple head coaches, general managers, defensive coordinators and personnel groupings. I said on Packers Preview last week that it's really been an issue for the defense since the tail end of Ryan Pickett's run in Green Bay. The Packers have to figure it out because scrambling quarterbacks and yards-after-contact running backs aren't going anywhere. The question isn't going to answer itself.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

Playoffs? I don't know. However, like most Packers fans, I'm very high on the team for Monday night. Early turnovers could hurt the Packers' express, but other than that, I think Monday's game will be one we can all enjoy. One week at a time. Go team.

This is a game I wouldn't have worried too much about two years ago, but you can't take anything for granted this season. Just play clean football and beat a banged-up football team. As Spoff has stated, Baker Mayfield is a different quarterback when he turns over the football. Takeaways are the name of the game tonight at Lambeau.

Emma from Davenport, FL

Forget about the records. The Packers and Rams are both proud franchises who are well coached and still playing hard. Would you say that injuries have been the biggest culprit for each team's struggles, or are other teams just doing a better job of scheming and winning one-on-ones?

Perhaps but I don't know if any team has been hit harder with injuries than the Rams. With all due respect to LA, this is not the same team the Packers saw last season. One thing both teams have in common is the long journey to replacing All-Pro receivers. Davante Adams and Cooper Kupp have been 1A and 1B the past two seasons and these offenses went through a big transition without them.

Tim from Olathe, KS

The NBA season is too long when you factor in the playoffs. As a result, players randomly take "injury management" games off, which dilutes the product. This has started to seep into MLB now, too, for the same reason and result. Do you see this starting to occur in the NFL with the new 17-game schedule?

It is no secret I was not a fan of the 17th regular-season game. I just like the symmetry with 16 games in a 32-team league and felt that size was large enough to determine worthy playoff teams. All that said, I don't think the 17-game NFL campaign is diluted in the same way the NBA and MLB seasons are. Games are too important to rest healthy players. If it swells to 18 games, maybe there will be some changes, but I don't think you'll see "load management" on NFL gamedays anytime soon.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

After walking out early (Thursday night, third-grade son with us) on the Detroit-GB "Hail Mary" game, maybe I should have learned. But I cancelled plans last month for the Detroit at GB game worried it may not be meaningful, who'd a thunk it might be us in a mini-playoff or playing spoiler to the Lions. As far as two ties still could go, if GB was to finish 9-8 and either Washington or NY are 8-7-2, does that go to tiebreakers for playoffs/draft position?

I believe so based on how the NFL calculates ties. If such a scenario unfolded, which would be unprecedented, the 9-8 Packers would be tied with the 8-7-2 Giants and/or Commanders (.563 winning percentages). So, the Giants and/or Commanders go back to holding that advantage over Green Bay.

Etienne from St-Joachim-de-tourelle, Canada

Good morning, Insiders. I committed the sin to look at the remaining NFL schedule and it seems to me that whoever seizes the wild-card spots will deserve it. All the contenders got a pretty rough remaining three or four games. I like that.

That's the way the NFL likes it. If memory serves, I believe the league was celebrating last year how many Week 18 games had playoff implications. It's a fight to the finish in both conferences.

Randy from Clarksville, TN

Hey guys. During the Titans-Chargers game, at the end of the first half, a Titan intercepted a pass in the end zone and as he was falling out of bounds tossed the ball back to another teammate who was in the end zone. A fantastic play for sure, but it looked to me the toss was thrown forward. Is this a legal play?

The Chargers' defensive back going out of bounds never had possession of the ball. It was ruled he deflected it to his teammate in the end zone – just like a Hail Mary.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

Who on earth are these Jaguars?

Another team nobody wants to face. Trevor Lawrence is for real, man – and he now has an actual NFL head coach.

Steve from Colorado Springs, CO

For my money, Jones, Dillon, Taylor & Goodson is the best law-firm position group this season.

Andrea from Barmstedt, Germany

In regard to Doug from Neenah's question and Wes's answer, I think Elgton Jenkins did a hell of a job when he was playing center. I can understand that the coaches won't switch him again if it isn't necessary. But as an emergency center, they could do way worse. I just hope we give him the well-deserved big second contract and he will remain a Packer for years to come.

He very much did, and I apologize for getting a little cavalier with my response. I was referring to who would slide over to center in the event if anything happened to Josh Myers. It could be Jenkins. I was just saying they no longer have a reserve who was predominately a center (e.g. Jake Hanson). But both Tom and Jenkins could snap in a pinch.

Dave from Huntsville, AL

So, no lead is safe, eh?

Eh.

Eric from Kenosha, WI

Good morning. Could you imagine answering an Inbox for Colts fans right now?

"Inbox: So, how 'bout that start?"

Mike from Algoma, WI

I am excited for December football. I know this season hasn't been what we all hoped, but it isn't over (yet). As disappointed as I've been at times, how frustrated are Colts fans? How on earth do you blow 33-0?

By not executing. As awful as the first half went for the Vikings, they minimized the damage (as strange as that sounds) and kept the Colts out of the end zone. For everything that went right for Indianapolis, the offense was non-existent from beginning to end. One offensive touchdown in a 39-36 game. Woof.

Jon from Soldiers Grove, WI

Hey guys, I appreciate and agree with your comments throughout the year re: momentum shifts and complementary football. That makes me respect what the Vikings did even more! Lots of opportunities to lose momentum, plenty of reasons to give up and they pulled it off. My son-in-law is a Vikings fan (he has other redeeming traits) and as a young man is concerned that he may need a pacemaker before the season is done!

Serious respect to Kevin O'Connell for keeping his team's head in it. I can only imagine what that halftime speech must have been like. The game also showed the difference between a smart head coach with a good football team and a struggling squad with an interim coach who was not on staff. Indianapolis looked like a rudderless ship.

David from Cable, WI

I see the Vikes are being called a possible team of destiny due to their season-altering comeback against the Colts. Their words not mine. Sounds similar to what we heard after the miracle vs. the Saints.

Just win, baby. Lotta truth in those three words. But I don't know how many playoff-caliber teams Minnesota could spot 33 points and still win. If the Vikings are going to make a run in January, they have serious wrinkles to iron out before then.

Gene from Anderson, IN

Someone needs to review ALL of the Vikings' game videos to determine how they do it. They are either the BEST team in the NFL or luckiest. Which is it, guys?

There's a lucky rabbit's foot hiding somewhere inside U.S. Bank Stadium.

Terrance from Sun Prairie, WI

How good was Lynn Dickey's passer ratings?

For the era in which he played? Great. Dickey had 151 interceptions over nine seasons in Green Bay but also threw for 21,369 yards. That was second only to Bart Starr's 24,718 over 16 years when Dickey retired and still is the fourth most in franchise history. Dickey's 87.3 passer rating during his big year in 1983 was Green Bay's highest since Bart Starr's 104.3 in 1968.

John from Troy, MO

Simply, how is it not a penalty when the offensive player, running back, lowers his head and initiates a helmet-on-helmet contact?

The NFL created that "lowering the head and using the crown of the helmet" penalty seven or eight years ago but I don't recall it ever being called in a Packers game.

Ben from Fitchburg, WI

A group of dolphins is called a "pod." A group of falcons is called a "cast." Therefore, whenever the Dolphins play the Falcons, you can watch a podcast. I won't let the door hit me on my way out.

Learn something new every day, whether you want to or not.

Jay from Reykjavík, Iceland

Not a question, just some praise and a comment for Wes on "keep food on the table and crayons in the drawer." As a retired professor of English Lit, I really appreciated this phrase for its simplicity, yet subtlety. You've turned the first mundane expression into an insightful and heartfelt aphorism for the challenges – and yearnings – of parenthood. Well done and thank you.

I mean it. I never forget how my bread is jellied. Coming from the newspaper industry, you quickly learn to appreciate every person who engages with your content.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, we have great expectations.

As the Packers go out to fight,

Their playoff goal remains in sight.

Simple, it seems;

Defeat four teams.

Start by beating the Rams tonight.

Not bad, Lori. Actually, pretty dang good. But I feel like we're missing something.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

The flame of hope still burns

Victory required to stay the course

In a season where nothing is easy and nothing is given

Expect nothing less now, Green and Gold

No Curtis this week, so we turn back the clock to "The Dean of Inbox." The 2022 season has not been easy for the Packers, and I expect nothing less tonight. There's still warm air in these lungs, so bring on the cold and bring on the Rams.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Given that we have a rare Weston Monday on our hands, let me treat it like a holiday by putting some brats on the grill and tipping back a frosty root beer, with a toast to Baby Hod's fifth birthday, too.

To those working, I hope you can stay focused today. To those partaking in endless brats and root beer, I wish you a fun-filled day. Primetime December football at Lambeau Field. It doesn't get any better than that.

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