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Inbox: From Day 1, David Bakhtiari looked like he belonged 

The Packers’ defense made a statement on that final stand

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T David Bakhtiari

Trevor from Arvada, CO

I think it's pretty obvious. The Packers' higher-ups saw DB's beer-chugging abilities and his extension was all but done at that point.

Well, once we get on the other side of this pandemic, Wisconsin's gonna need somebody to start the party, right?

LeRoy from Milwaukee, WI

David Bakhtiari. I believe it was his rookie season, and he frustrated Jared Allen so much, Jared ran up behind and shoved him in the back when the play was nearly over. Check that one out, going right to left in the red zone.

From Day 1, David Bakhtiari looked like he belonged. Of course, he's gotten better (much, much better) but I don't ever recall a game where he just didn't show up. And he started his career under the most adverse conditions – Bryan Bulaga tearing his ACL and having to step in at left tackle but the rest was history. And here we are, now 7½ years into an NFL career that could very well end in Canton someday.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

Aaron Rodgers said he sees David Bakhtiari as a possible Hall of Famer. What would he have to do in the rest of his career to accomplish that? It seems trickier to gauge with OL than, say, QBs or RBs.

Bakhtiari is on the right track with four All-Pro nods before his 29th birthday. Comparatively, Andrew Whitworth was 33 when he made the first of his three All-Pro teams.

Ron from Mitchell, SD

The Packers may have not won pretty on Sunday but they did learn one thing as a team: How to persevere.

That they did and it proved to be the difference between losing to Minnesota and beating Jacksonville.

Fletch from Hudson, WI

Based on Sunday's NFL results, my wife and I have decided to try and turn off "hypercritical mode" when we watch the Packers. All that matters are victories and who cares if we don't blow out teams with losing records. What a wild and crazy ride!

It obviously wasn't the performance the Packers wanted, but you know my feelings on reading too much out of one game. Just look at what Tampa Bay did a week after laying an egg against New Orleans. If you get too high or too low, you'll keep riding that rollercoaster forever. If a team stays level-headed and learns from its shortcomings, it can get on a sustainable run (e.g. 2016).

Marty from Rexford, MT

So, are we the glummest fans ever with our team at 7-2?

No, I get it. The Packers are 7-2 and still haven't played their best football. Fans want them to play to that potential. There's no harm in that.

David from Cable, WI

Why the surprise? About this time every year these types of games happen and not just to the Packers. The stronger offensive teams have established themselves and the lesser teams know it. So you see game plans built around the running game. It helps their defense, the offensive line and a younger or lesser QB. Keep it close, shorten the game and give the favorite a chance to beat themselves. All the top teams must come prepared to grind the rest of the way.

That's how life goes in the NFL. Last week, Baltimore shut down the now 6-3 Colts and Sunday lost to the Patriots – a 4-5 squad that nearly was beaten by the winless Jets a week earlier.

Greyson from Ann Arbor, MI

While the score was closer than what many hoped for, I thought the defense played well. Most of the points the Jags scored were in part due to a short field or were scored by special teams. Is this a performance you can see the defense building off?

The game probably played out as it should have – the Packers' defense played fine for the most part but Jake Luton also missed some throws more established QBs would have made. As Spoff mentioned, the defense made a statement on that final stand. The front played with its hair on fire and looked more like the D-Train of old. The Packers need more of that.

Glen from Leesburg, VA

The win over the Jags was really a perfect storm for a possible loss. With the punt return for a TD, the Davante Adams fumble that turned into points and the opposing punter pinning the Packers deep on at least three possessions, it was a game that should have been lost. The fact that the Packers' defense made their final stand when it counted told me that the glass is half full for this team. They bent but didn't break in a situation where they have broken in the past. I like where they are trending.

It's not like the Packers were calling for anyone to throw a parade for them Monday but they did what they set out to do against the Jaguars – win, but obviously there's still a lot the Packers and the rest of the NFC need to get straightened out.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

I don't think it's possible for a defense to play "hair on fire" for 16-plus games. The offense has been carrying the load so far, which is fine by me as long as the D-Train hits the gas to finish the season.

Statistically, the 2014 defense will never be talked about in the same dominant breath as 2009 or '10, but what made that unit special is how it pulled together during the second half of the season. Yes, Clay Matthews moving inside was the headliner but Julius Peppers, Casey Hayward and several others played well down the stretch to make that defense what it was. I think this year's group, with how many playmakers there are at all three levels, has that kind of potential if it can get healthy.

Steve from Ogden, IA

You guys are doing a great job on Insider as Packer fans really appreciate it. My question is do you think Jacksonville has a top 10 defense to stop the run because it looked like we were having a real tough time running the ball Sunday. Do you think the problem could've been all the moving parts on the offensive line affecting the run game?

It shouldn't have. That was the first time the Packers have been at full strength on their offensive line all season, relative to their starting depth chart. The Jaguars went all-in loading the box to contain the run, pre-snap misdirection and screens. And the Packers countered with the deep ball. Green Bay had five passes of at least 20 yards, including that bomb to Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Jacksonville had one (21 yards to DJ Chark).

Frank from Fort Worth, TX

Nice to see I wasn't the only one that got anxious when fourth-and-26 showed up on the scoreboard.

All I said on Twitter was "Preston Smith's sack sets up fourth-and-um-long." I'd rather not destroy my mentions by saying "fourth-and-26." Too soon.

Bill from Forest Park, OH

Given what we've witnessed this season coming out of bye/mini-bye weeks, are we sure we should pull for that first-round playoff bye?

Yes. I'm very sure.

Packers LB Preston Smith celebrates his birthday Nov. 17. Take a look at photos of him from the 2020 season.

Sean from Chicago, IL

Hi Wes! I'm not sure if you saw what Marcedes Lewis tweeted yesterday, but he said "...sports teach you to respect your opponent..." I know there was a sour end to his time in Jacksonville and this may be related to that but, I wonder if he is subtly reminding his teammates to not overlook any opponent regardless of the standings. Combined with Coach LaFleur's comments on the team's lack of "juice," I would expect the team leaders to get this team fired up.

I'd expect a fired-up Packers team this Sunday in Indy.

Dan from Northfield, MN

Rashan Gary was impressive especially at the end of the game pressuring the Jaguars QB, but I was most impressed with his running across the field and tracking down Cole late in the third quarter, a super-hustle play that saved many yards. Was this his best game so far?

That play caught my attention, too. I'd say that probably was Gary's best game with respect to the impact he had on the outcome. Pro Football Focus had him for seven pressures. I know there have been some frustrations from fans with Gary at times. I'm not here to argue about that, but the thing you cannot question is his heart. He is all energy…and he's still only 22.

Joseph from Ellsworth, WI

"Experts": Draft a WR! Trade for Will Fuller! Gutekunst: No thank you. Rodgers: On pace for 4,500-plus yards and 48 TDs.

And if they can get Allen Lazard back this week…

Dave from Boise, ID

Are you surprised by the lack of playing time for Jace Sternberger? At the end of last year, he was lining up at H-back wasn't he? Is there a bigger role for him going forward considering John Lovett is now on IR?

Not really surprised, because of how big a role Marcedes Lewis and Robert Tonyan have played on offense. Those two have each started eight games this year, and when one isn't on the field, the other often is. From what I could tell, the Packers didn't use the H-back/fullback at all against Jacksonville so we'll see if Sternberger slides back in there at some point.

James from Murfreesboro, TN

Will the contract David Bakhtiari signed have any effect on a contract to sign Aaron Jones?

I don't know about Jones, specifically, but the Packers structured their extensions with Kenny Clark and Bakhtiari in such a way to possibly re-sign more of their guys before 2021.

Jennifer from Middleton, WI

So if I read between the lines of what Gute said about next year's lower salary cap and free agency, it sounds like he's expecting some talent out there after teams who have not managed their cap for the long term are forced to release players they would like to keep but can no longer afford. Is that how you took his comments? If so, follow-up question: How likely is it those players accept less given the lower cap? In other words, does this situation force some bargain deals?

Not necessarily bargains, but the free-agent market could look slightly different than previous years. And that could lead to more interesting opportunities in terms of player acquisition. The Packers value flexibility, in every scenario.

Joshua from Houston, TX

Is our special teams lacking in discipline lately?

I don't know if I'd call it a discipline problem but certainly there were key breakdowns that led to Keelan Cole turning a low-hanging punt into a 91-yard score. Whatever happened on JK Scott's punt, the coverage unit still needs to get downfield and make the tackle. I'm not sure if they touched him.

Jake from West Allis, WI

If you could pick one Packers player from the past to add to this roster right now to help boost the team, who would it be and why?

My answer will always be Charles Woodson, because you could play him anywhere and he'd make your defense better.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Wes, I thought the backup defensive backs did a fine job of replacing Jaire Alexander and Kevin King. Not many teams could lose their top two cornerbacks and not be picked on. How would you assess the secondary depth?

A look back at the Green Bay Packers recognizing Salute To Service.

They did all right. I thought Ka'dar Hollman was fine in his first NFL start but this defense needs Jaire Alexander and Kevin King healthy for the stretch run, especially with the QBs the Packers have coming up on the schedule.

Matt from Bloomington, IN

I'm still hot about Myles Jack's flop and feigned injury. I don't want that in our sport, and the fact that it is from a team captain makes it even more embarrassing.

I love Myles Jack. I love the way he plays. But that was petty and regrettable, especially after he could've been called for taunting on the previous play for standing over Aaron Jones.

Randy from Westminster, CO

The Colts' defense is one of the better ones right now in the NFL. What is the Colts' strength on defense? And what do the Packers need to do to attack it?

Darius Leonard. The Packers have run the gauntlet against elite linebackers and this guy may be the best of all of them. When healthy, there really isn't anything Leonard can't do on a football field. And obviously the Packers are familiar with DeForest Buckner. He's been a massive difference-maker in that defense. Yards won't come easy Sunday but it starts by winning on first down. The Packers must stay in favorable down-and-distance to have success against that front.

Marin from West Lawn, PA

With Darrius Shepherd being out of the lineup, will this open up more opportunities for Malik Taylor? I like the juice Malik brings to the table and would like to see him get more playing time!

Equanimeous St. Brown (31 plays) saw the biggest increase in his workload Sunday with Shepherd not on the field. Taylor played eight snaps, while practice-squad call-up Juwann Winfree saw seven. Taylor also was the other kickoff returner with Jamaal Williams.

Paul from Nevada City, CA

I won't shade about the "victory." Kudos to MVS but will he ever learn to catch with his hands vs. his body? Re: Steven response, surprised no reference to Watergate? Thanks for the 5-15 rule, wasn't aware but so esoteric!

You learn something new every day.

Jake from Athens, GA

I'm glad to learn Doug Marrone could've been penalized for not wearing his mask while hollering at the ref. I'm still confused as to why Marrone's challenge was allowed. PI is not challengeable, right? Why should it matter whether the coach tries to challenge the contact element or the deflected-pass element of a PI ruling?

I may need Spoff to teach me this one, too. I still don't understand it.

Tim from Green Bay, WI

If a coach were to test positive for COVID, would they be able to segregate in a skybox and still work during a game?

No, they must stay home. Coaches can Zoom into meetings during the preparation week, I believe, but I'm not aware of any protocols allowing them to coach a game from home.

Steve from Cedar Falls, IA

Does the NFL have a plan for the Super Bowl should a team make it and then experience a COVID outbreak the week before the game? I know it is a long way off but just got me thinking with the large number of college games that have been cancelled, and many will not be rescheduled.

I'm sure the NFL has started to formulate those preliminary plans – heck, the NCAA is already discussing the format of March Madness – but nothing that we're privy to…yet.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

Where does the music in between player interviews come from? I'm a big fan.

Actual Matt Arvin.

Randy from Wake Forest, NC

Unfortunately, with a record of 7-2 the Packers only have one more win this season at least based on the "experts'" 8-8 finish they predicted at the beginning of the season. I'll show myself to the door!

Don't make predictions unless you want everyone to know you were wrong.

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