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Inbox: Greatness isn't always quantifiable

The Packers have everything in front of them right now


Justin from Hoboken, NJ

Hi Mike and Wes. Wanted to say I love the new Packers banner on the website. Thanks for all you do!

Pretty snazzy, ain't it? Good morning!

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

It's really hard to sweep the North opponents so these last three games will be a lot harder than everyone thinks, including the Lions. What will be the key to beating the up-and-coming Bears this week?

Rush to contain Mitchell Trubisky, take the ball away and be the fresher (and warmer) team in the fourth quarter. Be disciplined, play the way you're supposed to play as a 10-3 team at home and get this win.

Steve from Middletown, KY

I can't believe I'm comparing football to NASCAR, but there are some similarities. In a race, all drivers want to be up front leading. However, when a faster car is riding your bumper, you either move over or risk being moved over. Most will move over, then follow the line the faster car is running. In the last 20 to 50 laps, no one moves over. Everyone ramps up the intensity and pushes to the flag. Experience makes a difference. Does this team have another gear it can hit down the stretch?

I think so. I don't believe we've seen the best version of this team yet. One way or another, we're going to learn a lot about the Packers these next three weeks.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

In regards to Benjamin from Bear, DE, I would argue that at the professional level, where the talent gap is smaller than other levels of football, chemistry trumps talent and that plays a part in why the Packers have a better record than the Cowboys. And the fact that the Packers are plus-11 in the turnover margin vs. Dallas being minus-2.

Marcedes Lewis had the perfect quote about this in my feature about "Big Dog" last week. "The parity is so good in these league that the margin for error is so small. So you always have to be on your (stuff), so to speak." There's where chemistry and leadership make the difference for Green Bay. Everyone wants to label the Packers this or that. No matter how much some people try to classify a team as this or that, greatness isn't always quantifiable.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Wes, who is your pick for WR of the game vs. the Bears?

Davante Adams. Whenever it gets quiet with "17," that tends to be the calm before the Davante storm. He seems primed for a dominant performance.

Nic from London, UK

We drafted Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, got a couple good seasons out of him as a well-above-average starter (Pro Bowler, I think?) and eventually traded him for a fourth. Looking back now is that considered a win and a good use of draft capital? I'm asking honestly because I don't know.

The way I look at it is everything worked out for the best. Clinton-Dix has been a great signing for Chicago. Adrian Amos has been a great signing for Green Bay. If it's a push, then I guess maybe the extra fourth-round pick gives the Packers the edge.

Andrew from Pollock Pines, CA

There is much hype around Adrian Amos with this being Bears week. While I sincerely hope he has a fantastic game against his former team, my prediction is that Darnell Savage gets a huge interception to put this game away. Let's get the D-Train rolling!

I wrote about it this week. With Ibraheim Campbell back and healthy, it's allowed Amos to get back to doing what he does best on the back end. And Savage has made a lot of progress since Week 1.

Bob from Winneconne, WI

I loved Mike's answer to Matt's question when he essentially said I don't think we've seen the Packers play their best ball yet. Reflecting on last night's Jets-Ravens game I'm certainly hopeful that's true. The Jets played better than the score indicated, with several great returns and some solid passing. The Ravens seemed unfazed and schooled the Jets with solid balanced play in all three components of the game. How can the Pack build toward that level of consistency in remaining games?

By doing what they did during their first run through the NFC North. It isn't going to be perfect. At times, it may even need to be ugly. But the Packers have everything in front of them right now.

Sal from Hailey, ID

Good luck in the cold this weekend! I hope the press box is warmer than the stands. Can you tell us why some of the team switched jerseys the other day for practice? Knowing this team, it might just have been for the laughs – I love the energy they have together.

Za'Darius Smith came up with the idea, according to Dean Lowry. They were just trying to keep things light. There appeared to be really good energy Friday, so I'm sure the coaches didn't mind too much.

Richard from Greenwich, NY

Hi guys, those of us who can't view games except for national games or if GB plays one of our regional teams (in my case in upstate NY – Giants, Jets, Bills and sometimes Patriots) would really like to see a mashup of our new punt returner. Maybe a WYMM episode?

I'll throw that on Spoff's desk. Well, actually he edits this column. So now he just read it. Hi, Mike. Hope your Saturday morning is going well.

Lori from Green Bay, WI

Do you think the temperature will affect Trubisky?

In Year 3, Trubisky is used to the cold by now. It doesn't get much colder than that lakefront in Chicago. Trust me, I once got a wicked cold thanks to the 45-minute live show we were required to do before games. Overall, however, I think the Packers hold a slight edge as the more proven cold-weather team.

Max from Sherwood Park, Canada

Ron from Mesquite, NV, asked a question about injuries. I feel like some players are more prone to injuries. I remember during the free-agent frenzy where we signed all five of those guys in one or two days that I read an article that talked about how all of them have had fairly healthy careers. Do you think that has had anything to do with how healthy the Packers have been this year?

You can't deny history. That's not to say a player who has battled injuries is automatically going to get injured again, but that mileage is on the car. The marquee free agents the Packers signed this offseason had a history of durability and they've all lived up to that reputation. There is some luck involved but you can tell those guys take good care of their bodies.

Dave from Roswell, GA

So Akiem Hicks is still on IR...I thought there was a time period you had to be put on the active roster in order to play in a game? In other words, you cannot be removed from IR the day before a game and play.

Hicks can be activated Saturday and still play Sunday. The deadline is kickoff.

Jeff from Elk Mound, WI

To me it seems the schedule never favors the Packers when it comes to them going to warm climates in September such as Jacksonville a few years ago or any far south team. Why does it seem none of the really warm-climate teams come to Lambeau in December? I'm old and forgetful, maybe that's why.

This year was kind of an exception but the Packers have played plenty of teams from warm-weather climates in December the past few years: Atlanta and Arizona last year, Tampa Bay in 2017 and Houston in 2016.

Jake from Kaukauna, WI

All the talk of the NFC East lately got me thinking, when was the last time a team made the playoffs with a losing record? Have the Packers ever made it to the playoffs with a losing or .500 record?

The Packers have never made the playoffs with a losing record (cough, the NFC North has perennially been too good for that, cough). The last team to make the playoffs with a losing record was the 7-8-1 Carolina Panthers in 2014.

Kent from Lewiston, ID

Does the kicking advantage in this game go to the Packers? BTW, if you see a Ford Ranger with Idaho plates pulling a U-Haul through there it's my son Kyle heading home after three years in Philadelphia at PT school! Go Pack!

Anytime Mason Crosby is kicking at Lambeau Field, the advantage goes to the Packers. And Green Bay is going to need him on Sunday – not just with the field goals but also kicking the ball through the back of the end zone as often as possible with Cordarrelle Patterson back there.

Patsi from Riverside, CA

For a few weeks it looked as if teams celebrating their 100th season were snake-bit. At least Green Bay had a spectacular come-from-behind home win against the Bears in Game 1 last year, whereas Chicago's home opener this year undoubtedly was not the way they wanted to start their 100th celebration. But now Chicago is 7-6, compared to Green Bay at 5-8-1 going into Week 15 last year. The Bears are pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. Freezing or not, this Sunday will be a thriller.

Aaron Jones was asked about that earlier this week. It's funny how cyclical this game can be. The Bears effectively ended the Packers' 100th season last year in Chicago. Green Bay could potentially return the favor on Sunday.

Tony from Frisco, TX

The hate for Aaron Rodgers is in full force. On ESPN, there are many video clips calling him average, that he is no longer the amazing QB that he once was. How does he keep out the noise?

No fear. No distractions. The ability to let that which does not matter truly slide.

Bruce from Jackson, WI

Happy Holidays Wes! After watching the Thursday night game and another baffling challenged-call result from New York, please recycle my question I submitted Thursday. We are looking to II for the answers to the questions that won't go away. Thanks.

In nearly four years, I don't think I've heard a better line to describe what we do than that, Bruce. "Insider Inbox: A quest for answers to the questions that won't go away." We have a brand-new line for pillows and T-shirts.

Gary from Davenport, IA

Is there any way to get some of the players to pose for action shots in black-and-white photos like the players shown in the Cliff Christl's history series? I think seeing Aaron Rodgers unleash a throw or JK Scott with his toes nearly seven feet in the air would make for some awesome photos.

I thought the same thing earlier this week, actually. That's Evan Siegle's department, though.

Brett from Boonsboro, MD

I thinks Terrell Suggs might be a solid sparkplug for our D. What say ye?

Ye says I figured we'd get a few of these questions. Thank you for not disappointing.

Griffin from Belmont, NC

Do you still get excited for certain games or is it just another day at the office on game days? Do you experience the highs and lows as a member of the Packers or do you have to put that on pause while you meet your deadlines?

I still get excited for gameday, especially the postseason. There's so much drama and the stakes are so high. If you love football, it doesn't get much better than that. Once the game start, my mentality from the newspaper to is still the same. Cover the game, get the quotes and write your stories in a timely manner.

Keith from Dearborn, MI

Wes Hod, less than two weeks until Christmas. Hopefully, you got your Dearborn ham.

On the fourth day after Christmas, my true love gave to me – a Dearborn ham in a pear tree.

Benjamin from Omaha, NE

In response to Rich from Grand Rapids' observation about the Packers being in a good place with the cap and draft picks, the response was "Let's file this away for March. Opportunity is knocking right now." No. Cap management is far more important than "opportunities knocking now." I'm as interested in watching a playoff game in 2022 as in 2020. Your responsibility as a journalist is to inform fans about the cap and its consequences. Take care of the cap and it will take care of you.

Nothing with regards to the Packers' cap is going to change between now and March, so there's no point in discussing it when the team is in a playoff chase. Also, neither Spoff nor I appreciated your tone, Benjamin. Around here, we use words like "honor," "credibility," and "accuracy." We use these words as the backbone of a life spent informing people. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very information that we provide and then questions the manner in which we provide it. I would rather that you just said "thank you" and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a credential and stand a locker room. Either way, I don't give a (hoot) what you think you're entitled to!