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Inbox: Guys like that might never have been acquired

It’s a constant game of counters and adjustments

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S Dallin Leavitt

Jamie from Manchester, UK

And on the night Lewis got his 55th catch for his 550 yards and five TDs in his five seasons in Green Bay, Romeo Doubs caught five passes for 55 yards on five attempts!

And how many consecutive wins do the Packers need for a shot at a playoff spot? Just checking.

Tom from Douglassville, PA

The Dolphins receivers make me nervous, how do we stop them?

Tackle them. Missed tackles against the Eagles ruptured into big gains. Missed tackles against these guys can result in touchdowns.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

I encourage you to seek out the Washington Commanders on Twitter and watch the video of Ron Rivera informing his players of their selection to the Pro Bowl, particularly the last guy (Reaves) who is the ST starter. You will gain a fuller appreciation of what this game means to those young men, and I suspect gain a much greater appreciation of Rivera as a leader. It is well worth the 150 seconds or so to watch it whether you are a fan of the Commanders or not.

Couldn't agree more. Tremendous video. We're not normally in the business of sending our readers to other team sites, but this is worth the exception. Here's the link.

Craig from Laramie, WY

Packer fan at 7220'. Minus-23 this morning, with a couple more inches of blowing snow and windchill of minus-48, but all I'm thinking about are football and Christmas...this next game in Miami, and my hopes for a future book by Wes on the real-life people stories behind the history of this great franchise. I don't usually get excited about Christmas presents but this one will be on my list to Santa until Wes comes through! Merry Christmas, II family!

If Wes ever writes a book, I'll edit it for free if he wants. It would be a blast to read.

Brian from Moncks Corner, SC

Over the next two weeks, and quite possibly the last weekend, the Packers will have plenty of opportunities to scoreboard watch. Do you believe any of the other games' outcomes will impact player performance?

Not much. If they're out there, they're playing to win. I think where the impact comes in is with the team spirit during practices and preparation leading up to the games. If the Packers get the help they need Saturday and a win on Sunday, this will be one fired-up squad next week.

Matt from Auburndale, WI

Is pass interference yardage an official stat for a receiver? I think it should be another column in the stat line because it indicates how often they beat the pants off someone but didn't get the credit. It would be another interesting way to compare the elite receivers.

It's not an official stat but I'm sure someone out there tracks it. Agents likely have that info at their disposal for contract negotiations.

David from Janesville, WI

Mike, you never want to be without your franchise left tackle for any reason, but do you think the appendix issue may actually prove to be a good thing for Bak's knee? I know playoffs remain less than likely, but if they would sneak in maybe a rested David Bakhtiari with a healthy knee helps the offense continue to improve. Zach Tom has done an admirable job, but having Bak and Elgton Jenkins on that left side together just helps matters for the run and pass.

The extra rest won't hurt the knee, but it appeared Bakhtiari had gotten past most if not all of that load management and was ready to finish the season strong. Hopefully he'll still get a chance to do that.

Kevin from San Francisco, CA

One of my all-time favorite Mason Crosby memories is of Crosby running down Cordarrelle Patterson from behind and forcing a fumble after a long return. Considering everything Patterson has done as a returner and the NFL record this year, it's all the more impressive.

You weren't the only reader to recall that play.

Anthony from Southington, CT

With the special teams vastly improved, how much do you think is the coaching as opposed to the change in roster philosophy regarding the final roster spots going to people more helpful to special teams?

I don't know exactly how to divvy it up, but it's in the ballpark of an even split. On the coaching side, LaFleur went from two coordinators who had never held the job at this level to one of the most experienced and accomplished in the business. On the personnel side, I don't look at the "final roster spots" as much as the commitment made to veteran special-teamers from elsewhere, such as Keisean Nixon, Dallin Leavitt and Rudy Ford. Guys like that might never have been acquired without the shift in philosophy.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

You know, in regards to the eventual NFCSC and the potential record – it would be REALLY fun if it's not even Tampa Bay and it ends up either ATL or CAR. ATL for the adversity in that new HC's tenure (who has done a lot of interesting/good things) or CAR who traded away its two best offensive weapons and dealt with QB controversies the whole season.

Nothing against Atlanta, but how can anyone outside of those rival cities not be rooting for Carolina to somehow win that division after everything it's been through with an interim coach and major personnel changes? Regardless of record, it would be quite the accomplishment for an interim coach to get a team to the playoffs for the second straight year, following Bisaccia last year with the Raiders.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

A work colleague once told me about how in the Original Six days of hockey, rookies could flash but after playing all the teams a couple times their weaknesses were found and many faded. The same happens with basketball players or baseball when a pitcher's or hitter's weakness is found. Is there a comparable in football? Do football skill players have tendencies that can be used to cool them off? Of course, the greats work on their weaknesses to make them strengths.

Exactly. Everything's on film, so it's a constant game of counters and adjustments. The true greats will continue to find new ways to thrive and develop a well-rounded arsenal from which they can draw depending on the opponent or situation. Those who don't or can't become flashes in the pan or one-trick ponies, whichever phrase you prefer.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Wes, in "Three Things" you and Larry discussed the Packers' success in the return game with Nixon as well as the Dolphins' lack of success on return coverage. With that in mind, if you are making the call, how deep in the end zone do you green light the return instead of accepting the touchback?

I missed yesterday's "Three Things" shoot but I'll answer this for Wes anyway. I think the Packers might have to chain Nixon to the goalpost to prevent him from bringing the ball out in Miami.

The Green Bay Packers held practice inside the Don Hutson Center on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022.

Braedon from Endicott, NY

Mike, you're telling me the Packers only had seven goal-to-go situations through the Detroit game? That seems awfully low, right?

Yup. Last year they had their seventh goal-to-go at the start of the second quarter of Week 4, and scored their sixth straight TD.

Vinny from Green Bay, WI

I have some family from out of town that might be traveling for the Lions game depending upon what day the game is. Do you know of a deadline when the NFL will need to notify which teams are playing on Saturday vs. the Sunday slate of games?

My understanding is the decision will be made the night of Jan. 1 (after the Vikings game) or no later than Monday, Jan. 2.

Kyle from Jenison, MI

I just looked at the site's injury report for the Packers and Dolphins. No question playing clean, complementary football was a key to winning this past Monday and will be again on Christmas day. However, I feel team health was a major factor in earlier games, and might be again – but in our favor, for once – down the stretch. Thoughts? Thanks for all the exceptional content through the year.

Not having Rashan Gary and Eric Stokes for a matchup like this really hurts the defense, and the preference would always be to have Bakhtiari on 12's blind side. But otherwise the Packers are as healthy as they could ask for heading into their 15th game.

Andrew from Burke, VA

If I recall correctly, us Insiders were promised a Christmas gift if the Packers were still statistically in the hunt by now. Will we be seeing a Path to the Playoffs soon? Or are there still too many things that need to happen first?

If the Packers beat the Dolphins and get to 7-8, I will write a Path to the Playoffs next week. That's been my promise and I'll fulfill it. In the meantime, Chase has the bullet points for this week.

Chase from Fort Leavenworth, KS

Good morning team. This week we are fans of the Panthers, Chiefs, 49ers, and Vikings (those last two really hurt) to beat the Lions, Seahawks, Commanders, and Giants, respectively. The good thing is that the Chiefs, 49ers, and Vikings are all favorites, and we control our own destiny against the Lions. Thanks.

You're welcome.

Ron from Cornell, MI

Guys, I hear a lot of people on here saying that this isn't a playoff-caliber team. While that might look true now, this defense faces the No. 5, No. 9, and No. 7 overall offenses in the last three games. Would you agree that winning against these teams would make them a very dangerous matchup in a possible playoff game?

Any team entering the postseason on a five-game winning streak would be considered dangerous, but you know, just beat the Dolphins.

Arthur from Eau Claire, WI

To Michael, Weston, their families, the entire staff and Insiders, Merry Christmas to all of you and best wishes for a prosperous, safe, healthy New Year. Thanks for all you do!

Happy Holidays to all of Packer Nation, and thanks for your loyal readership and participation. I sincerely hope I'm sifting through joyful comments on the flight home Sunday night. Have a great Friday.

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