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Inbox: He can't be in command of the game

The more wins you chalk up now …

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley

Dennis from De Pere, WI

Here's hoping we can be chuffed that the Packers have a dog's bollocks of a game on Sunday! I'll be pretty cheezed off if they play like a bunch of legless wazzocks.

And once again we're off, so we might as well get going.

Neil from Tunbridge Wells, UK

Do you guys fly with the team or do you get your own aircraft?

I didn't see an Insider Inbox charter on the itinerary so I think we're on the team one.

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

If we can contain Saquon I really like our chances against this Giants passing attack. I'd feel even better if Adrian Amos and Jaire Alexander return to action. I've never been to England, always wanted to see and experience Stonehenge, though. I would imagine you and Wes won't have time to go see it, bummer.

There won't be much time for sightseeing, but we're hoping to catch a couple spots here and there. As for containing Barkley, that is absolutely the key to this game defensively for the Packers. It won't take a shutdown performance to beat the Giants, but he can't be in command of the game and controlling the tempo.

Harry from Onalaska, WI

Insiders, Saquon Barkley looks like a big game-plan problem. Would the answer be a dose of Jones and Dillon and control the TOP? This is looking like it will be a battle in the trenches for sure.

The best way to limit a star running back's impact is by building a big lead. Barring that, whether each team gets seven possessions or 12, the Packers are going to be dealing with Barkley all day.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

In what ways are the Giants a more improved team from last year? Where are they weaker?

In addition to a healthy Barkley and more experienced young QB, they're second in the league in third-down defense, right behind the Packers at No. 1. They had four wins last year and already have three, so your second question seems irrelevant.

Johnny from Tillson, NY

Hey there! We all know that Packers fans occupy every nook and cranny of the world and a bunch of green and gold is always visible on international broadcasts. Will the long-anticipated arrival of America's (actual) Team in London be perhaps as much of, if not more of, a home game for the Pack? I'm sure lots of European fans have been champing at the bit to chant, "Go Pack Go!" and see a Tottenham Leap!

I'll just say I don't anticipate the Giants enjoying the makeup of Sunday's crowd.

Paul from Hewitt, WI

Mike and Wes, as it relates to the run defense how easy or difficult is it for a rookie defensive lineman to learn the scheme? How have the snaps been distributed among the D-line? Interested to see how many snaps Devonte Wyatt is getting and his impact on the game.

It's not as much about the scheme up front for young D-linemen, it's about learning and honing the techniques it takes to be successful in the trenches at this level. It's a tough business in there, and when technique catches up to a player's traits, then you start to see the impact. Wyatt is playing a handful of snaps a game, mostly in pass-rushing situations.

Jake from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Good afternoon gentlemen. It seems odd to me that the Packers' defense has given up the highest completion percentage in the league after four games. What, in your opinion, goes into that? Is it simply that DC Barry is willing to keep passes short and in front of them? Keeping in mind also that they are third in total yards allowed and tied for third in passing TDs allowed.

Barry is trying to keep two safeties back as much as possible, which LaFleur alluded to as a tactic that may need adjusting to contain the run better. That approach discourages opposing offenses from taking a lot of shots downfield, which are completed at lower percentages.

Bruce from Jackson, WI

Morning Mike, on Tuesday Wes mentioned the overseas trip this week being on his NFL bucket list. Can I ask if you have a list as well? Any NFL stadiums you haven't covered the Packers at yet? Perhaps another Super Bowl or two? Maybe Aaron's or any other Packer induction ceremonies into the Hall of Fame? Have fun in London this week and just bring us another win home with you. Safe travels to you and everyone!

An international game definitely has been something I've wanted to chalk off (and no, preseason in Winnipeg on an 80-yard field didn't count). We've all been waiting patiently, or not, for this opportunity. I certainly want to get to another Super Bowl, but I've been fortunate to cover two in my career (XXXII and XLV), so I don't complain, knowing it would be an even bigger deal to Wes, who's never been to one. The only current NFL stadiums I haven't visited are the new ones in LA and Vegas, so I'd like to hit those for sure.

Paul from Los Angeles, CA

The Brewers were eliminated from postseason on Monday and the Badgers fired their football coach. Thank God we beat the Patriots.

Sometimes this job is a great distraction for me.

Ross from Hudson, WI

Prior to Sunday when was the last time two rookies scored touchdowns for the Packers?

In the same game, it was five seasons ago, vs. Tampa Bay in 2017. Rookie running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams both scored in, coincidentally, an overtime victory.

James from Appleton, WI

So who's living the harder life, a Bears fan still waiting for Justin Fields' breakout game or a Lions fan seeing Detroit score all those points and still be 1-3?

I like Detroit's overall roster better than Chicago's, so the defensive letdowns for that team have to be maddening. Allowing Seattle to score 48 points? Woof. The Lions even gave up 27 to the Commanders when they won a game. If that defense doesn't come around soon, it'll be another long year in Detroit.

Kevin from De Pere, WI

On McAfee's show Aaron Rodgers mentioned how Christian Watson reminds him of Davante in his first year in this regard…When reviewing the film after the game, he was open a lot, and Aaron just didn't look there enough. He mentioned he's going to have to keep an eye on Watson more often. Sounds like we may start to see more opportunities for Christian?

The proverbial stay tuned, I guess.

Zachary from Waupun, WI

The 49ers play defense the way I want the Packers to play defense, but just don't.

I like what the Packers have up front and want to give the unit more time to gel, but that 49ers front seven is the best in the game right now, hands down. To steal one of Larry's favorites, that's a salty bunch. I think the Packers' secondary, when healthy, is the better group, so I'm curious to see how the comparison plays out over the long haul.

Caroline from Olympia, WA

Where is our biggest need moving forward?

Protecting the football. In LaFleur's first three seasons, they never turned the ball over more than two games in a row. They're at four straight with at least one turnover to start the season. The most turnovers under LaFleur in one regular season is 13. With seven, the Packers are already more than halfway to that number. Eleven teams have a negative turnover margin right now, and Green Bay is the only one with three wins. When I think about the question/answer in Rodgers' postgame presser the other night about what's "not sustainable," winning with turnover numbers like this is not sustainable.

Robert from Verona, WI

I was surprised Bill Belichick chose to punt the ball in overtime. I'm sure the analytics support the decision to punt, but given the Patriots were across midfield (barely) and the likelihood of his team getting the ball back again with such good field position was low, I was holding my breath right up until the football left the punter's foot. Apparently, Belichick stated that going for it on fourth down never really crossed his mind, but did it surprise you at all?

Yes and no. It has to be difficult to pass up fourth-and-5 at the opponent's 46 in overtime only needing a field goal to win. But his defense had just gotten a three-and-out to start OT so he probably felt good about pinning the Packers deep at that moment. I'm guessing Belichick decided if he was going to lose such a hard-fought game, he wasn't going to lose it by having a rookie third-string QB in a really tough spot not come through and allow Rodgers to go just 20 yards or so for the win. He was going to make Rodgers truly beat his defense to beat him.

Larry from South Milwaukee, WI

Was there any advantage, psychological or otherwise, to running the clock down to four seconds in OT? The game is over at that point once the kick is good even if there were two minutes left, correct?

Yes, but by draining the clock, the tie is preserved if the kick is missed because the opponent doesn't get another shot.

Richard from Livermore, CA

Regarding the missed play clock expiration: From what was shown on TV well afterwards with the two officials in discussion, I got the impression the back judge thought the play clock was going to be reset to 25 seconds because of an administrative issue by the officials in placing the ball into play, and since it hadn't he was ignoring calling a penalty when it reached :00. The head referee seemed to shake his head, indicating "No, that was not the case." So apparently it was miscommunication.

Thanks for that, but, well, … OK.

Lori from Shavertown, PA

What is the difference between "the ground cannot cause a fumble" and the receiver must "survive "contact with the ground for completions? Is there a quandary here or is it just me?

Wes explained it very well yesterday as it relates to the definition of "possession."

Alan from Park Falls, WI

I see a lot of people comparing the Romeo Doubs catch to the Dez Bryant non-catch. The NFL rules have been changed since the Dez drop.

Correct, and under the current rules, Dez caught it. He got a third foot down and reached the ball toward the goal line ("football move") before losing control. The Bryant play wasn't a touchdown the way the rule was written then, but it would be now.

Jonathan from Richmond Hill, GA

Has Randall Cobb been nicknamed "Mr. Third Down" yet? It's something I started noticing last year and seems to be true again this year. He comes up big on third down so often. I'm guessing that's the trust he's earned from Rodgers.

No question. There's a running joke in the live blog every week, whenever it's third down, a bunch of followers send in "Third and Cobb" to the comments. Cobb has 10 receptions this season, and five of them have converted third downs, while three others have also moved the chains. In addition, he drew a DPI on third down this last game. Wes has a more detailed story on Cobb posting later this morning. Be sure to check it out.

Steve from Lewiston, ID

Every NFL game is tough no matter who you play but in four weeks Packers have their first game against a top team, Buffalo. What would you like to see happen in the next three games for the Packers?

A win, a win, and then another win. Seriously, though, the answer to your question in my mind is cut down on the turnovers and play stouter run defense. Those are priorities 1 and 1A right now as this team moves forward.

Bill from Burbank, CA

Not a question but an observation. As frustrating as things have seemed at times, consider this: After four games, GB is fifth overall in defensive yardage allowed, fourth overall in yardage gained, and seventh in rushing yards. Two rookie receivers have "flashed," and A-Rodge has barely warmed up. This team hasn't come close to putting a complete game together. What happens when they do? Can't wait!

To be accurate, the Packers are sixth in offensive yardage. But to your point, future opponents on the schedule will require said complete game, as will any contest in mid-January and beyond. We will all be waiting to see if the Packers have it when it's needed most. The more wins you chalk up now, the more time you get to work on finding it.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

The NFL has to love the start of this season. So many close games and the parity is crazy. Only one undefeated team and one winless team; 15 teams at .500 and four divisions without a team over .500. Every week looks like it matters a quarter of the way, or at least close to a quarter of the way, through the season. Just keep stacking wins no matter how ugly they may be.

As I mentioned on "Unscripted," I saw a statistic indicating of the 16 games played in Week 4, 15 of them were one-possession contests at some point in the fourth quarter. That says it all.

Jeff from Janesville, WI

On to London.

The next time I'm writing this column will probably be while the plane is over the Atlantic.

Dave from Waterford, OH

Mike and Wes, with your upcoming trip to a foreign country, are you going to be taking one of those little translation dictionaries with you?

Happy Wednesday.