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Inbox: First prepare, then get hyped to play

RB Jamaal Williams
RB Jamaal Williams

Sim Carstairs from Pull Lemuel, MO

In your line of work, one should be able to record “Final Thoughts” or write II with equal enthusiasm. Do you find, as former old-school print journalists, that you prefer to write your stories vs. the on-camera work you do for packers.com? You both seem to transition seamlessly from one medium to the other and do it right. And, as they say, "Doin' right ain't got no end."

The Inbox officially reached Josey Wales overload this morning. Yikes.

Aaron from Seattle, WA

It seems Northwestern is where the Packers go to get all their role players. While none of these guys are stars, the Packers are significantly better for having Dean Lowry, Tyler Lancaster, and Danny Vitale, and Ibraheim Campbell looked good in the few games he got in last year. Is Northwestern now the best-represented college on the Packers’ roster?

There are also four players from Mississippi State on the current 53 – Hunter Bradley, Elgton Jenkins, Will Redmond and Preston Smith.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

Due to my work schedule I haven’t been able to watch a game in a few weeks so I’m really looking forward to Sunday. I’m very much looking forward to the calls made at the line of scrimmage between Aaron Rodgers and Luke Kuechly and how their chess match plays out. Any matchups that stand out to you as must-see TV?

I want to see a few reps of Aaron Jones vs. Luke Kuechly in the open field. Should be entertaining.

Phil from Marietta, GA

If we were to assume (bonus subjunctive mood usage) that the crucial turnover statistic evens out this Sunday, then I'd postulate that whichever team has more rushing yardage will win the game. Thoughts?

If the Packers finish with more rushing yards than the Panthers, I’ll say definitely the Packers win. But I don’t think it’s a requirement for a Green Bay victory.

Markus from Aurora, CO

Insiders, I have come to recognize that my emotional ups and downs have decreased over the last few years. I contribute that primarily to your balanced reporting, which in turn helped me to expect less overall and enjoy the ride more. Thank you!

We do what we can.

Liam from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

It is often said a Packers home game would never be played away from Lambeau due to the importance to the local economy. It has also been written in this Inbox that in order for the Packers to play in the UK the NFL may have to force the issue. Do you think the NFL could force the Packers to play a home game in the UK and in return award Green Bay an NFL Draft which would no doubt provide a bigger income for the city than a standard home game would?

The league has been awarding the draft to cities that can never host a Super Bowl, so I don’t think the Packers’ London prospects would get tied into the draft.

Eric from Glyndon, MN

In response to Wes speculating about scenarios in which the Packers play a game overseas, I’d like to propose another option that I see as even more likely: The NFL approaches an AFC team with a large check in exchange for unprotecting an upcoming game against Green Bay.

I would agree with that.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

By the way, ML doesn't want a free pass, nor does he need one. That doesn't mean we beat him up either. I think the next few weeks will really show what kind of coach he is. What I've heard from him demonstrates that he is not only learning, but desiring to learn what he needs to do to get his team to win. I'm not saying Super Bowls, but I think he can go somewhere.

Again, in agreement.

Greg from Glendale Heights, IL

Did Ibraheim Campbell’s activation from PUP count against our two IR returns? If not, what does the IR picture look like for the Packers with regards to potential returnees?

No, Campbell’s return from PUP has nothing to do with the IR designations. The only Packers eligible to return from IR are Raven Greene and Lane Taylor, but I’ve seen no indications that either’s return is on the horizon.

John from Mattituck, NY

If I have a bad performance at work, I don’t go in to work the next day with “positive vibes.” I’m angry and use that as fuel to do better. Why aren’t the players angry?

Because when your life as a professional is in a competitive arena, getting angry channels too much personal focus into emotion rather than preparation. Put in the work. First prepare, then get hyped to play.

Chris from Minneapolis, MN

Speaking of words of the day... today's word from Word Genius is "winsome."

Of course.

Michael from Marquette, MI

Do you feel cutting Daniels was a mistake? I believe they did. Thanks.

Daniels hasn’t played since Week 3 due to a foot injury.

Dan from Grand Rapids, MI

Insiders, I take full responsibility for the Packers’ losses. I am in an eliminator pool (can pick any team any week, not one and done; you get one "redo" in the first four weeks) and I have picked Green Bay twice, against the Eagles and against the Chargers. I have been eliminated and so there's smooth sailing ahead.

Many moons ago, when I used to participate in knockout pools I had three rules I followed without fail – never pick a road team, never touch a division rivalry, and never deal with the Packers’ game.

Joe from Minneapolis, MN

It's been mentioned that for the play-action to be effective you need to run first and last week the Packers didn't run enough. However I think it was Cris Collinsworth on Sunday night that mentioned that data indicates play-action is effective even without running. Are you familiar with what he was referring to? At times we all believe something is true when the data indicates otherwise.

If you’ve scouted your own tendencies and line up early in a formation from which you’ve run the ball the vast majority of the time, and you run play-action, it can be effective even if you haven’t run the ball against that specific team yet. But as the game wears on, you have to run the ball for the defense you’re playing to respect it.

Nathan from Tiffin, OH

Hey Insiders, who should we be rooting for in the DET-CHI game this Sunday, that would benefit the Packers the most?

Well, I’d say right now the odds favor Detroit holding serve at home on Thanksgiving against the Bears, so I’d root for Chicago to snap its four-game losing streak this week.

Cindy from Oshkosh, WI

I am looking forward to Monday night to see if Russell Wilson can snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat once again. Or will the 49ers keep their undefeated record intact? Do we root for Seattle to give San Fran their first loss or do we root for San Fran to give Seattle a worse record than the Packers?

The choice there may depend on what happens Sunday.

Drew from Rogers City, MI

Seems like the best run defense the Packers can play is offense. Getting up quick on our opponents makes them one-dimensional and allows our defense to focus on turnovers and ball-hawking. Here's to a fast start. Let's Pack up the Panthers early...

I don’t totally discount the value of fast starts, but quick, early control in games against Minnesota (21-0) and Kansas City (14-0) didn’t exactly result in what you outlined. You still have to make plays at crunch time, on both sides of the ball.

The Green Bay Packers practiced outside to get ready for Sunday's matchup against the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field.

Daniel from Liverpool, UK

Gregg Rosenthal recently tweeted that since Week 4, the Packers are 31st in the league in yards per play allowed. Is it just blown coverage? Guys trying to do too much? Jaire Alexander and Kevin King were looking like the best CB duo in the NFL at the beginning of the year.

It isn’t just the corners who have allowed big plays. There have been breakdowns in several places. Everyone is looking for individual scapegoats. It’s on the whole unit to be more assignment-sure, trust the guy next to you, and make the play when it comes your way. Quarterbacks need to get harassed to make throws more difficult. The first tackler needs to make an impact on the play so the second guy can clean up and maybe get the ball out. That’s the team defense the Packers played in the first three weeks and they have to get back to that.

Ralph from Monchenglabach, Germany

It's often said this week (ML, AR, II) that we have to run the ball more, as one element to counter the pass rush. I feel that makes us a bit predictable, which is a bad thing when playing against Luke Kuechly. Wouldn't it be better to try something that was (I believe) not often seen this season: short, quick passes, perhaps up the middle. The kind of passes Jordy Nelson used to get? Davante Adams was used that way one or two times last game to get a first down and AR would trust him with that.

Don’t confuse all the running back talk with the need being all about running the ball. While I think this Carolina defense can be had against the run (26th in yards per game, 31st in yards per carry), it’s about getting the ball to Jones and Williams in whatever ways they can be effective. Short, quick passes – yes, absolutely. It’s a great way to negate a pass rush. But those throws can involve all kinds of players.

Tony from Chanhassen, MN

The Packers had a bad game. What’s the worst game you’ve ever attended?

There are a lot of ways to define worst. But based on feelings going in, and because it’s my favorite holiday, I’ll say Thanksgiving 2013.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Are we at a point in the season where we know who the Packers are? Based on the question posted in II and the answers I can’t tell if you guys know or have an opinion. If we consider the axiom, we are 0-1 last week. Are we winless? A pretender who will be unmasked in the second half? Or a legitimate contender coming off a bad game?

The Chargers game can be a true turning point or just a tally mark in the season. The sooner the Packers answer the question, the better.

Brennan from Syracuse, UT

I was looking at the rankings of our division, and then specifically at the schedule of Chicago and thinking that they could possibly end up at the bottom of the division at the end of the season. Has there ever been a team before that has gone from worst to first to worst in three consecutive years?

Since the current divisional alignment was instituted in 2002, it has happened six times. Tampa Bay (2004-06), Baltimore (2005-07), Philadelphia (2005-07), Kansas City (2009-11), Washington (2011-13) and Jacksonville (2016-18).

Darrel from Pueblo, CO

II, if the Chargers should move to London, that means eight games where teams would have to travel there and eight times the Chargers would have to travel back here. Seems very difficult for both sides, especially the Chargers. I don't see how this could work out schedule-wise, do you?

What I recall hearing discussed years ago with the idea of a London team is it would have a stateside base as well, and the team’s schedule would be in four-game blocks location-wise, or perhaps a 4-8-4 arrangement, to minimize travel.

Alan from Honea Path, SC

I noticed the NIR (veteran rest) designation on the injury report. If an active player doesn't practice for whatever reason, he has to be listed on the injury report?

Yes, or if he doesn’t take his usual number of reps in practice, he has to be listed as limited.

Sean from Johnson, IA

Hey II, I was up there for the Broncos and the Raiders games and noticed what looked like construction of some sort happening in front of the Hutson Center. Any insight on what that is about?

They are re-doing Hinkle Field and placing a heating system underneath it.

Rob from Louisville, CO

Snowball fight at practice, eh? Was anyone brave enough to throw one at Aaron Rodgers?

I’m sure no one was spared.

Daniel from Los Angeles, CA

Was looking at the Rock showing some tape on Za'Darius Smith. He's been very aggressive, mainly in his tackling style. That was what I loved about Clay so much. Some might view it as "dirty" but I saw it as tough and good football. I'm just glad we still have someone who goes all-in and isn't afraid to let the other team have it.

It’s still a tough game for tough guys, just with more rules.

Colin from Tripoli, WI

Guys, any big plans for the bye week? Here's what I'm thinking. You guys can go relax for the week and you can give me the keys to the Inbox. Don't worry I'll take really good care of it. Can't promise not to get a little mud on the tires but otherwise unharmed. We will have a couple good stories to tell as well over a couple cold ones. Let me know so I can make plans.

Let’s get to the bye week first, then we’ll talk. Or not.

Tom from Dollar Bay, MI

Hey Spoff, fun question. What do you think the over/under is on the percentage of blaze orange in the stands on Sunday?

I won’t even begin to hazard a guess on the percentage, because the way those colors catch the eye it probably skews any estimates too high. Either way, it’s one of my favorite “looks” of Lambeau, and I can’t wait. Happy Friday.

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