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Inbox: He doesn't get nearly enough credit

Davante Adams’ footwork is going to keep him on top for years to come

LB Preston Smith
LB Preston Smith

Greg from San Antonio, TX

Come on Wes, did you really confuse Loretta Lynn for Tammy Wynette? I believe we need to D-I-V-O-R-C-E you from any more references to old school country music.

Yikes, looks like I need a distraction…Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Conway Twitty.

Steve from Ankeny, IA

Watching Allen Lazard blocking on the replay, I think he's an option at left tackle!

The Packers might have the best blocking receiver and blocking tight end at their respective positions. The "goon" moniker fits Lazard, though. He's both an explosive pass-catcher and outstanding blocker. If that wasn't enough, he is always willing to step in on special teams. It was cool to hear on Monday about how Lazard raised his hand and asked to play teams after Trenton Cannon's kickoff return.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Wes, it is awesome to see Davante Adams impact the game so much, but how important is it to get other receivers more involved?

They were involved. I know Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Lazard and Robert Tonyan didn't have career nights in the box score but they all played significant minutes and roles in that victory. That final series at the end was built for Adams, but the Packers don't get there if not for their other skill-position players.

Robert from Chandler, AZ

The Rodgers-Adams chemistry is amazing. But I do wonder if GB may return to another Aaron Rodgers strength: throwing to a wide range of receivers. What factors bring Lazard, MVS, Randall Cobb, Tonyan and others more into Rodgers' panorama?

Game situation and circumstances dictate a lot of it, but there are plays designed for all the aforementioned. The 49ers were banged up in the secondary and sticking to single high Sunday. So, why not feature Adams? I'm not an NFL play-caller or MVP QB but I like those odds.

Craig from Appleton, WI

How would you rank the following end-of-game heroics by AR12? 1. Arizona playoff game with two long bombs to Janis to get to overtime. 2. Cowboys playoff game with the sideline pass to Jared Cook. 3. The Hail Mary against Detroit with no time on the clock. 4. Sunday's win over San Fran.

I put that pass to Cook in Dallas (and really Rodgers' performance that final quarter) in the pantheon of his career achievements. Everything that makes Rodgers special was evident down the stretch. From there, I'd go with the Hail Mary in Detroit, the "comeback" win over San Francisco third and then the Arizona playoff game fourth.

Robert from Verona, WI

If you had to choose the main attribute that makes Davante Adams so great, what would it be?

His footwork. He has tons of athleticism, but his footwork is going to keep him at the top of the receiver mountaintop for years to come.

Ryan from London, UK

We all know that MVS is one of the best deep-threat options in the league but was that touchdown catch Sunday night the most impressive grab of his career so far? Was a grab of a man who is much more than just a go-route receiver.

MVS is playing well. He's getting separation, playing on schedule and winning his routes. Hopefully, everything checks out OK with his hamstring because I felt like Valdes-Scantling was in a zone out there. All he needed was the ball.

Al from Green Bay, WI

It was good to see Oren Burks contribute on defense last week. Moving forward, do you expect to see him taking the field on defense situationally, or does it depend more on the availability of Krys Barnes?

If Barnes can't go Sunday, I would expect the Packers to stick with Ty Summers in the base packages and use Burks in the nickel. Those packages play to each linebacker's strength. Green Bay plays a lot more true nickel under Joe Barry than it did with Mike Pettine, which has afforded Burks more opportunities to impact the game.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Mike and Wes, what are the keys to a victory this Sunday vs. Pittsburgh? Which areas do you want to see the Packers to build upon from the last two victories?

Play clean football. When the Packers take care of the football and avoid penalties, they win football games. I think there's an opportunity for this pass rush to get after Big Ben on Sunday. If that happens and the offense does its part, Green Bay heads to Cincy 3-1.

Mike from Toronto, Canada

ESPN ran an article opining on each team's best potential two-way player (ala Shohei Ohtani). For the Packers they picked Ty Summers. No disrespect to Ty Summers, but isn't Mason Crosby technically our best two-way player?

Summers is a fine pick by Rob but I would've said Jaire Alexander. He caught 68 passes for 1,123 yards and 18 touchdowns his senior year at Rocky River (N.C.). He's an All-Pro cornerback, but I think his speed and quickness would make him an intriguing gadget player. Elgton Jenkins would be a close second. He was legit D-line prospect, too, coming out of high school.

Matt from Burlington , WI

Insiders, with a stacked O-line room, could a "jumbo" formation be used? Do you think that formation is in ML's playbook?

Sure, but you don't really need it when you have Marcedes Lewis on your roster.

Don from Bath, NY

Not a question but an observation for each of the three phases of our team. Special teams are much better with our new punter. Preston Smith looks like a new man and is the most under-talked-about player on defense. The offensive line with all the young talent that we have looks like it could be outstanding for a long time. What do you think?

Corey Bojorquez's leg power is legit and he has pretty good accuracy with it. With the offensive line, you have to tip your cap to the job those guys did considering four-fifths of the unit hadn't started an NFL game three weeks ago. The player I want to talk about, though, is Preston Smith. Preston caught a lot of grief but he goes about his business and keeps moving forward. The other thing nobody talks about is how steady and reliable Preston is. He has never missed an NFL game (his 99 consecutive regular-season games played are the second most among active NFL linebackers). Three games in, Preston is making his presence felt in Joe Barry's defense. He doesn't get nearly enough credit.

Kevin from Indianapolis, IN

Adam Stenavich is a gem of an O-line coach. Do you have any insight into what his long-term ambitions might be or the typical trajectory for a successful O-line coach? I sure hope he's around for a while to coach up the young and talented players on the roster.

Stenavich was a home-run hire for Matt LaFleur. He had big shoes to fill in Green Bay but has a been a perfect fit for this offense and that O-line room. I'm sure he has high aspirations in the coaching profession, but right now Stenavich is killing it with these young linemen. He had that group ready to play on Sunday.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Does our D need more horses up front, or does the line just need to gel as a unit?

I think the defense and line are fine. Situationally, the Packers have work to do (e.g. third/fourth downs) but last week was definitely a step in the right direction. The pieces are there for this defense to be successful this season.

Ray from Clark, NJ

Rodgers' heroics and the exhilarating finish on Sunday night masked the obvious failure of three long incompletions on the previous possession when the game could have been secured with a first down or two. Championship teams don't leave themselves down a point with 37 seconds left. Does this concern you as much as it does me?

Are you really using Adams nearly getting decapitated towards your incompletion argument? Because 48½ times out of 50 that's a penalty. If you're going to ride the train, you better recognize it travels both ways out of the station.

Tom from Medford, WI

A note on the "spike" formation – I noticed the same thing was done by the Ravens against the Lions. Even the formation looks similar – the receivers that are off the line of scrimmage are way off the line – trying to make it obvious to the officials so there's no chance of an illegal formation penalty. Is it just me, or is that "spike" play way more stressful now because of the 10-second runoff? Not just Packers games, but any game I watch, I hold my breath for the flag.

It's incredibly stressful, especially with a new center and the new pieces involved. But the unit stayed composed and did what it needed to do to give Mason Crosby a chance for the game-winner.

Bill from Lancaster, PA

On the two completions in the last 37 seconds, the Packers rushed to the line to spike the ball and stop the clock. I noticed the 49ers also rushed to get into position for the snap. Why? If they took their time getting across the line, wouldn't the officials have prevented the Packers from snapping the ball and allowed the clock to run down? I'm not complaining, I'm just surprised the 49ers were so cooperative. Would the clock have stopped while the officials held up the snap?

Because as long as the Packers don't substitute personnel, they can snap the ball as soon as their 11 are set. So, if the 49ers don't get onside, Green Bay either gets a free play or the ball moves 5 yards closer for the field goal. A game cannot end on a defensive penalty.

Jonathan from Muenster, Germany

I just read the comments by San Francisco's ST coordinator about not kicking short on the final kickoff out of respect for Kylin Hill. This a) made me very happy and b) made me wonder how his single 41-yard return is enough to warrant the respect of other coaches?

I was surprised they didn't squib it (I asked Spoff about that right after the touchback) but that's the value of putting a kickoff return on film like the one Hill had against the Lions.

Bob from Rome, NY

Gentleman: I would like to give a congrats shout-out to Mason Crosby for his special teams performer of the week award. Does Crosby knocking the kickoff returner out of bounds to save a TD factor into this? I don't think it does but it should. Thank you!

The NFL didn't throw that in the news release but Crosby's tackle is noted and appreciated by both the Packers and their fans. He's never afraid to get his threads dirty.

Nick from Charlottesville, VA

Do you known what is the longest field goal Crosby has ever made in practice? If not, would you please ask him for us?

I'll try to remember next time we talk to Crosby, but Maurice Drayton said he was good from 64 during pregame warmups Sunday.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

Forget Sunday night, the Packers are on to the Steelers. They must hold serve at home. The Packers have to play on the road the following two weeks. To win, the Packers need to recognize that rushing attempts can be as important as rushing yardage. On defense, stop the run to test the Steelers' passing game. What would be your strategy?

More or less. The Packers haven't broken a big one on the ground yet but Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon ran hard in their 25-carry, 100-yard performance against San Francisco. That's not an easy line to run the football against, either. You have to keep chipping away. Defensively, it's stopping Harris and putting pressure on Ben Roethlisberger, who's been sacked eight times and thrown three picks so far.

Jon from Brooklyn Park, MN

What was your favorite comeback victory in Packers' history?

I'm sure many will dog me for recency bias but the Packers' comeback against Dallas in December 2013 is one of the darnedest things I've ever witnessed. Matt Flynn and Eddie Lacy were on one in the second half. That game proved to me nothing is over at halftime.

Bobby from Joplin, MO

Insiders, a lot has been made of the officiating. I wanted to talk about a play I haven't seen addressed here or on the broadcast. On the 49ers' last drive, the first play appeared to be a clear backwards pass that went out of bounds about 8 yards behind the LOS, but the officials just ruled it an incomplete pass. Green Bay couldn't challenge because they had no timeouts left. Do you see it this way when you look at it?

I've watched it a few times. It was as close as it gets. It was good to see Kenny Clark get credit for the sack on Garoppolo, though. He made that takeaway happen.

Zak from Huntington Beach, CA

What is the best way for the common fan to complain to the league about the poor officiating? What about for the uncommon fan?

By opening the nearest window and shouting, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

Geoffrey from Rosemount , MN

The Steelers' rushing attack may not be strong at the moment but Najee Harris did have 19(!) targets last week. Forty rush attempts and 27 targets on the season. This guy's going to get the ball early and often.

It's been a grind for Pittsburgh on the ground, but as you said, Harris can move the ball. Interestingly enough, he has generated more first downs through the air (seven) than the ground (six) through three games. The Steelers invested a first-round pick into Harris for a reason. He's a workhorse.

Michael from Burnsville, MN

Are the practice-squad parameters permanently changed now or is this still in trial/temporary?

The 16-player practice squads are here to stay. That's written in the CBA. The only question is whether the league allows vested veterans to be on the practice squad moving forward. I hope they are permitted to stay. For the time being, however, that part is year-to-year.

Michael from Weston, Ontario

So, gentlemen, DO aliens exist?

Absolutely but be sure to watch our "Question of the Day" video, too. There are some epic responses.

Dave from Folsom, CA

Do you read every question and go back and pick, or just pick so many and quit? Thanks.

When it's my day to write Inbox, I try to read every question that comes in (with a few exceptions). I usually don't touch Inbox on my days off. If it's something I need to see, Spoff forwards it to me.

Gary from Belle Mead, NJ

Sorry to bring math into the Inbox but the question about directional kickoffs inspired me to calculate the distance a kickoff would have to travel to reach the end-zone pylon. The answer is just over 84 yards (compared to 65 straight ahead). As far as a question, how did the Dope Sheet get its name?

"Dope" was just a popular expression during the 1920s, referring to information on a particular subject.

Ryan from Kaukauna, WI

In the NFL it's players not plays. In the Insiders Inbox, is it questioners not questions?

I like that. I don't know if it's T-shirt material, but those are definitely pillow-stitchin' words.

Bil from Stateline, NV

Is the sweater-vest look making a comeback, Wes? I haven't seen one of those in about 40 years.

Obviously, you weren't an Ohio State fan back in the day. But I love me a good sweater vest. Just give me a reason.