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Inbox: He does his job every single week

This game has all the makings of an instant classic 


Bob from Port Richey, FL

Was Ty Montgomery cut from the Packers, and why? Where did he go to?

All week long, I've been telling myself, "This week is almost over. We're almost there." Good morning!

JT from Whitewater, WI

This team has been building its effectiveness through the first half of the season. Last week they played effectively for 58 minutes. This week, I believe, we'll see 60 minutes of Green Bay Packers football. Bring on the Patriots!

It's going to take 60 good minutes to beat a team like the Patriots and you better believe Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are up for it. This game has all the makings of an instant classic.

Jeremiah from Denver, CO

Fans realizing what's a waste of energy – ha ha, good one Spoff! You might as well ask them to just enjoy the show, or trust the professionals know more than they do, or realize that it is actually quite hard to play football in the NFL. What do you guys think of our ability to pressure Tom Brady up front and get him off his spot in the pocket?

Sack totals won't tell the whole story with this game. Brady just doesn't take them. Still, the Packers must get pressure and not allow him to get comfortable in the pocket. They need to speed up Brady's internal clock and force a takeaway or two. The only issue I had with the defensive performance in L.A. is the Packers weren't able to force a turnover. They'll need one or two in this game, preferably early.

Will from Milwaukee, WI

As long as we're looking for players to watch for a breakout game, it seems obvious that the Packers' second greatest A-Aron, Aaron Jones, is primed for an opportunity here. Trading Ha Ha seems to have surprised all of us, but it almost seems like those who have been howling for weeks to feed the rock to Aaron Jones have missed that his opportunity to shine has arrived. Do you think Jones will finally be given a "starting" designation on Sunday?

Jones has started the past two weeks, so I guess I'd need more clarification on what you mean by "starting." Will Jones play more? I think that goes without saying, but I haven't the slightest clue what the breakdown of snaps is going to look like. Regardless of how the touches shake out, I think this game calls for a healthy dose of Jones early.

Juan from Barcelona, Spain

Something tells me Sunday night is going to be all about Jones and our offensive line.

An underrated aspect of that 2014 game is how effective Eddie Lacy was in a workmanlike 21-carry, 98-yard performance against the Patriots. I don't know if Jones gets 20 or more carries, but his explosiveness would go a long way in helping Rodgers control down-and-distance.

Jon from Salem, MA

Hi guys. There have been several mentions of Mike Pettine having some success against Tom Brady during his tenure in the AFC East. One thing that I think is getting glossed over a bit is that Pettine had success while relying on the likes of Mark Sanchez to score points for him at the other end. This time he has Aaron Rodgers. If he can have similar success, one would think they would be able to put up more points. Although nothing is guaranteed in the NFL.

With all due respect to Sanchez and some of the other quarterbacks on Pettine's previous teams, the Packers' defensive coordinator never has been paired with a signal-caller like Rodgers. McCarthy, Pettine and Joe Philbin had an entire offseason to dissect the Patriots. It's going to be fun to see what they dial up Sunday.

Al from Green Bay, WI

I'm excited about the rapid development of Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the Packers' offense. Among rookie receivers, MVS ranks fifth in yards and he's found the end zone twice. He is a weapon, and I'm looking to him to be a difference-maker in New England. With the progress of MVS and Equanimeous St. Brown on offense, and then Alexander, Jackson, and Burks on defense, and JK Scott on special teams this draft class packs a punch. Is it too early to call Gute's first draft a success?

Probably, but we're off to a good start. What I like about Valdes-Scantling is he's looked the part since the offseason program. He's long, fast and has underrated footwork. St. Brown also has impressed me with how comfortable he's been in key situations. The kid's got alligator blood. Both young receivers need to stay ready Sunday with Geronimo Allison unlikely to play.

Tyler from Riverside, CA

I am so excited to see if Jaire Alexander's productivity continues to grow at such a high rate. These next four years would be great.

And four years from right now…Alexander will be 25. The guy has so much upside. He reminds me of Davante Adams, who also was 21 when he walked in the door back in 2014. Not because of how Alexander plays, but how he carries himself. Unwavering confidence is a beautiful thing, man.

Brady from Lodi, WI

If I had to make a sleeper pick for who's going to have a huge impact on this game, I'm saying Kyler Fackrell. I have received nothing but grief from friends and fellow fans alike for liking what he's shown this year. The man can play. I see him coming up with a big play in crunch time this Sunday.

Here's the thing – Fackrell has been an accountable and consistent member of that rotation at outside rusher. As Clay Matthews said a few weeks ago, there is a stark contrast between the perception of fans and the locker room with Fackrell. He has four sacks in seven games. That's good production from a rusher who's played only 32 percent of the defensive snaps. He does his job every single week.

Nick from Portland, OR

I've been looking through old drafts of ours. It's amazing to see how many guys have fizzled out over the years. One name that struck me was Lawrence Guy, a seventh-rounder in 2011 who bounced around several teams before earning a $20 million contract with the Patriots last year and is a regular contributor. Have you ever seen a player be such a late bloomer and find success in this league after so many stints with different teams?

Guy is pretty unique because he signed a pretty big contract in 2017 after bopping around with four different teams. Danny Lansanah wasn't a draft pick, but that's the first name that comes to mind. He played for the Packers in 2008, spent time in the UFL for three seasons and eventually found work with the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

John from Flanders, NJ

How about JK Scott having a big bounce-back game? Could be just the difference we need.

I'm with Spoff on special teams potentially deciding this game and the Packers needing players to step up. That last punt was a hard way for Scott to end his day, but he still has all the leg talent in the world. He just needs a rebound.

Nick from Chicago, IL

Everyone is talking about how this is only the second outing between Rodgers and Brady. But what about Graham and Gronk? Both have had established careers over the years, but have they played each other outside of the Super Bowl?

Graham and Gronkowski have only played once in the same game, a 31-24 win for Seattle over New England on Nov. 13, 2016, in Foxborough. Graham had four catches for 48 yards in that game, whereas Gronk had three for 56.

Jessi from Sterling, KS

We have to state the obvious. The team celebrations are at a low this year, even on the road (I'm all for the Lambeau Leap always winning the celebration battle at home). Who was the mastermind behind them last year? Jordy?

I'm pretty sure it was Trevor Davis.

Steve from Middletown, KY

I have James White on my fantasy team and he has been sensational. To me, he just might be the X-factor. Shut him down and I think it will more than level the playing field. We sometimes have trouble with receiving running backs. Do you think that having the speed of six DBs/safeties on the field can negate that option?

Mike Pettine and the defense have a tall task in defending White out of the backfield. He's been Brady's primary target this season, with nearly 30 more catches than anybody else on the roster. It's up to Blake Martinez, Oren Burks and whichever combination of defensive backs they choose to go with to limit White's impact.

Brian from Sussex, WI

Spoff addressed a question about Ted Thompson's change in philosophy over the years. I felt TT's dependence on the draft, and getting compensatory picks, went up significantly and is likely what led to his decline in success. The draft is tough to be consistently successful, so letting known good players go for the picks is risky. That's why I like Brian Gutekunst's approach of basing team-building on the draft but utilizing all available options to supplement.

This is tough to respond to because your analysis lacks nuance. The thing is Thompson did some of his best work with compensatory selections. That's how Josh Sitton, Mike Daniels and Blake Martinez all made it to Green Bay. However, I agree with the approach Gutekunst is taking right now since the Packers don't have many "big-contract" free agents coming off the books soon like they did the past two years. Clinton-Dix was one of them. Instead, Green Bay gets an immediate return instead of waiting for March.

Andrés from Bogotá, Colombia

With the transition of Tramon Williams to a safety, will Josh Jones have any possibility to play more snaps?

Williams can play virtually any position in the secondary. Pettine mentioned he's going to "play some" safety, not necessarily full-time. There's a lot of moving parts. I believe there will be opportunities available for guys such as Jones and Josh Jackson, who have been waiting their turn.

Tyler from Orem, UT

Between me and you, I told you Ty had to go. And oh yeah, I also said Tramon would move to safety. On to the Patties.

Between you and I, were you also one of those fans who wanted to cut Davante Adams in 2015?

Joe from Pittsburgh, PA

The season is at the halfway mark. Who is your MVP at this point? I would go for Todd Gurley, although I'm sure some Kansas City and New Orleans fans might see it a bit differently.

Gurley is a good pick. Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff and Aaron Donald are also in the running.

Jeff from South Bend, IN

I mentioned this on Twitter to my 16 followers, so I thought I'd get on the Jaire Alexander nickname record here. Based on "Jaire Island" I present to you: Ja'island

As great as the idea for a nickname is, your intro to this comment may be one of the best I've read in my 2½ years contributing to Inbox. I legitimately laughed.

Jon from Appleton, WI

Wes, which was higher: the number of comments nailing you for Tramon's position change, or the number of questions asking if he is eligible to change his number to...say...88?

Definitely the No. 88 questions.

Kevin from Whitehall, WI

Just finished watching TNF. Are we witnessing the Raiders become the league's next Cleveland Browns? They are bad. How long will Jon Gruden last?

Ten years?

Bill from Menominee, MI

I know Oakland has a plan that requires patience from the fans, but holy smokes am I glad we don't have to suffer through a rebuilding that requires that type of sacrifice. An entire season is basically forfeited. They may be title contenders in 3-4 years with the draft picks and salary cap space but there are no guarantees. One injury jeopardizes their plan.

What confuses me is I thought the Raiders already were ready to compete for a championship when they won 12 games two years ago. Reggie McKenzie drafted a franchise quarterback, receiver and pass-rusher. That's the holy grail.

Rich from Sierra Vista, AZ

Not Packers, but gotta feel good for Nick Mullens. The epitome of what these young men dream about and work hard to accomplish. It's why we watch.

Move over Shane Falco. There's a new underdog story to fall in love with.

Justin from Canton, NC

Seems like just yesterday we were excited to watch Favre and Manning. Man, how time flies.

Seems like just yesterday we were excited to watch Brady (and insert any quarterback who has started an NFL game since Y2K).

Rod from Ephrata, PA

How much time will be left on the clock when the winning points are scored? Less than a minute? Less than 30 seconds? Zero?

I'll say 36 seconds.