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Inbox: Greater clarity will soon arrive

It’s a learned skill

Line of scrimmage

Bev from Mondovi, WI

What Packers player do you speculate will be the highlight of the Packers-Jaguars game?

I think Aaron Jones is going off Sunday.

Ryan from Bloomer, WI

While watching the Tampa v. NO game, I found my eyes drifting to the play of Jason Pierre-Paul. While I'm sure we agree this guy can still play, it got me wondering, of all the teams he's played on and I can't remember the Packers ever defeating a team he was playing on. Made me wonder who, if any one player, has played the most games against the Packers without surrendering a loss. The Packers Kryptonite if you will...

For the record, the Packers won two games Pierre-Paul started for the Giants back in 2011 and 2016. I don't know for certain the answer to your question, but I'll let everyone think about a little trivia today. What quarterback started four total games against the Packers for three different teams over a decade's time (1999-2008) and went 4-0? I'll post the answer further down.

Sean from Vermontville, MI

In considering the second-best spot to be in the playoff seedings (who wouldn't want that first-round bye?), I'm going to be bold and say that the second seed is probably second-best. In seriousness though, if the decision is made to "bubble up" for the playoffs, and they decide to use the No. 1 seed's home field, would that work if the Packers were the 1? If not, do they go to a neutral site (rather than the home field of another team in the playoffs)? I know you don't know, but speculate, please.

If they do a playoff bubble, they'd have to pick a field with an artificial surface to handle multiple games in one weekend. I would expect it to be a neutral field, unless they wait to form the bubble until after the first round and the No. 1 seed's field has the necessary surface.

Sue from Tomah, WI

Before this column gets busy with pregame Packer info, I'd like to take a little step sideways for a bit. Badgers have had two games cancelled and were designated "no contest." Could you please explain this term and how it affects their standing towards the championship game?

"No contest" just means the game wasn't played and it shows up on no one's record. My understanding is the Badgers are still eligible for the Big Ten title game if they play six regular-season games (eight were originally scheduled), so they can't afford to miss any more. It could get tricky in the Big Ten West, though, if – to create a hypothetical – Wisconsin finishes 6-0 and Purdue goes 6-1, with their head-to-head game having been called off. But the Big Ten didn't give itself any wiggle room, not scheduling any byes for makeup games or any weeks off before the conference championship. We'll see if a simple resolution emerges or not, but in any case, hopefully the Badgers have put their troubles behind them.

Michael from Morrison, IL

After the struggles this team has had against multi-threat backs like Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, and Ronald Jones, I really don't think fans should be looking past Jacksonville. James Robinson is a big matchup problem.

Yes he is, but I don't know how much this game will really tell us about Green Bay's defense, frankly, with a rookie QB making his second NFL start. I take nothing away from Robinson, but Luton is not Brees, Cousins or Brady with that tough back to handle.

Peter from Morganfield, KY

I admit, I have found myself looking at the Jacksonville game next week and thinking, "Automatic win, what's next on the schedule?" I know, I know, we're not supposed to do that. I would hope that Matt LaFleur reminds the Packers of that this week and points his team to the Steelers' narrow escape in Dallas on Sunday as a cautionary tale.

Agreed, and I think LaFleur consistently delivers that message, so it's up to the players to heed it. What I just said about the Packers' defense above is by no means taking this game for granted. You still have to play well. But this is a game the Packers should win, plain and simple. I think it only reveals something about them if they lose it.

Marilyn from Canyon Country, CA

Who is your all-time favorite player?

Walter Payton.

Mario from Kettleman City, CA

He's baaack. Louisiana Tech's own and Green Bay Packers great, Tramon Williams, signs with the Baltimore Ravens. His hope of winning another Super Bowl remains alive.

Wouldn't it be something if he has an INT binge in the playoffs like he did 10 years ago?

Anthony from Jamestown, ND

Jamison Crowder made a heck of a toe-tapping, toe-dragging catch on MNF. He looked out of bounds on the live feed, but replay showed he clearly caught it. Do these guys practice that type of catch, and do teams have a test or scout to see if a player has that type of ability to control their body?

Receivers practice that kind of footwork all the time in the NFL. They don't have to catch the ball that way in college, so it's not really scouted. It's a learned skill.

Noah from Singapore

Hey Inbox! The more I watch Davante Adams , the more impressed I am with his calm and composed demeanor no matter the situation. He reminds me a lot of how Jordy Nelson carried himself on and off the field. Is this a trait Adams learned while being around Nelson, or is this inherent to Davante's nature?

There may be some of both, but I don't think someone can adopt that type of demeanor solely by trying to model someone else. The foundation has to be built in, and Wes and I talked about that some on the latest "Unscripted."

Richard from Farmington Hills, MI

Wes wrote that you guys sit eight feet apart. Are you wearing masks? What's the protocol in the building? I believe you've said you're tested every day. Have to add that I've been so disappointed in my home state to see the virus running amok there.

We're a little more than eight feet apart, actually, separated by cube walls as well as a walking path between our cubes. Our protocol in the building is to wear a mask when you get up from your desk to go anywhere. We also wear them in the studio until right before the cameras come on for "Unscripted" or "Final Thoughts."

Marin from West Lawn, PA

When Kevin King returns to the starting lineup, will the Packers have him play for extended time or frequently rotate him with Josh Jackson?

My expectation would be when King is healthy, he's playing close to every snap.

Ross from Roswell, GA

Gents, with the winter months upon you soon, do you think playing at Lambeau in the cold without fans will make motivation even harder to come by?

I sure hope not, though if southern teams like Carolina and Tennessee come into the cold any less motivated that would be fine.

Beefcake from Minneapolis, MN

Mike, it's obvious to the outside observer that Marcedes Lewis commands a lot of respect from his teammates. Kudos to you as your WYMM segment this week helped me understand why. No, he's not the obvious downfield threat, but this guy can BLOCK. I'd wager he does his job better than some offensive linemen in the league.

LaFleur doesn't sweat leaving Lewis against a top-flight edge defender if that's what the play and formation call for. The blocking by the tight ends collectively in the San Francisco game was the best I'd seen on film this season.

Tom from Mt. Juliet, TN

Your comments on Alex Trebek hit home. The entire nation skipped a beat on the word of his passing. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most fatal and painful cancers of all. My father was taken by this horrible disease in 1974. Little was known about it at the time and the doctors gave my dad six months. Through guts and determination my dad made it three years. Much like my dad, Trebek handled it with character and dignity. It takes a special person to look death in the eyes and say "not yet."

Well said, and to include some sentiments expressed by other readers, his native Canada will miss him dearly as well.

Clint from Port Washington, WI

In your opinion does having Billy Turner and others play so well during his injury diminish the need to re-sign David Bakhtiari? Or, to put it another way, is the amount of money the Packers are willing to pay him decreasing during his absence? Not having to pay the top left tackle salary would free up a bunch of cap room for the other FAs...

Sure it would, but I wouldn't advise taking that approach. You don't let established All-Pro players who have plenty left to give, especially at premier positions, walk out the door if you can help it.

Aaron from Eau Claire, WI

Wes mentioned that he wants as many home games as possible during the playoffs, but I would argue that with the lack of fans and the fact that the Packers' strength is their pass game and pass defense, playing in the cold on the tundra of Lambeau Field does not feel like an advantage for this team. I would much rather see them play in a dome in January (and in Tampa in February).

I hear where you're coming from, but getting to practice in the weather you're playing in when the opponent can't, and eliminating travel, are advantages in and of themselves.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

In a season with a seventh playoff team, are teams heading into November with five losses already such as Minnesota legitimately playoff contenders?

They aren't legitimate until they get above .500, but they can't be ruled out at the midway point.

Tyus from South Range, WI

Hey Inbox, I understand the reason to flex the Week 11 game to 3:25 but now it won't be on TV here in the far north because the Vikings game is also played at 3:25. I can't stand watching the Vikings, I die a little inside every time I have to. Can you guys pull some strings and get it changed back please!

When I see notes like this, I realize how lucky I was to grow up in southwest Wisconsin, where our TV pulled in two CBS affiliates, one from Wisconsin, one from Iowa. Same with NBC. They often carried different games at the same time. Hang in there, Ty. I'm sure you're not alone.

Nick from Hopkins, MN

The fortuitous turn of the 2009 NFC Championship seems to have exacted a heavy karmic toll on the Saints as unquestionably inferior Vikings teams have twice since broken their hearts in the playoffs. Can we expect similar retribution 'pon the loathsome Hawks of the Sea or the dread Prospectors of Fifty-Less-One? Such cheer would my heart feel to sup on a plate of their discomfiture at our hands!

Did you begin waxing poetic so early in 2020 that you failed to feast your eyes on what transpired 10 months less one day ago?

Reza from Janesville, WI

Jacksonville could have, should have won their game against Houston. During the third quarter around the 6:20 mark the refs missed a delay of game by two, maybe three seconds and Houston threw a 70-some-yard touchdown to Fuller. Then they never scored again. Why isn't this unflagged penalty reviewable? It made a huge difference in the game.

I looked at the highlight and it did seem like a big miss, with the snap coming not just a beat after the play clock hit zero but well after. The play clock has never been a reviewable aspect.

Jon from Salem, MA

Hi Mike, happy Wednesday. I always look forward to your "Path to the Playoffs" content once the time rolls around. I know we aren't there yet, but have you ever considered doing a type of "Who to Root For" segment each week? It could really be helpful for lots of Packers fans to understand how the games can affect seeding as we approach playoff time (for example, Seattle leads New Orleans and Green Bay despite being tied because one of their losses is to an AFC opponent).

First of all, I'd use whom. Kidding aside, I think such a segment is difficult to do until the latter stages of the season because so much can change. Back in Week 1, it looked great to see the Cardinals beat the 49ers. How 'bout now? Or as I pointed out the other day, with the Vikings and Bears playing one another for the first time next Monday, the current records would say root for the Vikings. But are we so sure? Greater clarity will soon arrive, once we get to Thanksgiving and beyond.

Mike from St. Louis, MO

How many weeks until the '72 Dolphins kick off their annual celebration?

The Steelers play the Ravens and Bills over the next five weeks. I'm guessing at least one of those two gets them.

Susan from Oak Creek, WI

Who is the most underrated Packer player?

There are several good candidates, but forced to pick one, I'll say Chandon Sullivan. By the way, the answer to the earlier trivia question is Brian Griese. Starting for the Broncos in '99, Bucs in '05, Bears in '07 and Bucs again in '08, he went 4-0 against the Packers.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Eight down, eight to go and the Packers are firmly in the mix for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Right where they want to be. Injuries and COVID will certainly be a huge factor, but looking at these next eight weeks who do you think will be the biggest challenges? FTR I'm thinking Tennessee and their running game.

That, Rivers and McCaffrey for the defense, to pick a top three. For the offense, the defenses of the Colts and Bears.

Sam from Boston, MA

That win against the Saints sure seems bigger now...

Ya think?

Pete from Farmington, UT

In defense of Spoff, there is the obvious explanation. For anyone who has barbecued with teriyaki sauce knows, the smell is so overpowering that your mouth starts watering and your stomach starts growling at the same time. You can't wait to get it on a bun, so you undercook it because it appears to be burning but your nose and brain tells you it's time.

Indeed, plus I should clarify when I say undercooked, it was perfectly edible. Much like I prefer my steak, in fact. I just generally cook ground beef a tad longer, but I wasn't in a fussy mood.

Craig from Appleton, WI

Wait, Spoff painted his own fence? How does he not go Tom Sawyer and trick Wes into doing it for him?

Reports of my duplicitousness have been greatly exaggerated.

Jamie from Boston, MA

Born in Green Bay, grew up in Manitowoc, served this great country in the armed services. Salute to all who have gained and preserved freedom for us here and all over the world! In all the craziness going on, can we pause and thank those who are/have served?

Indeed. Happy Veterans Day.