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Inbox: He gets it

Vic Fangio’s scheme is challenging but the Packers’ tackles are battle-tested

CB Jaire Alexander
CB Jaire Alexander

Marty from Rexford, MT

When you see Brian Gutekunst acquiring Za'Darius Smith, Preston Smith, and Tremon Smith on defense, his wily plan is becoming obvious. He's working to eventually have every defensive player with the last name "Smith." That way, when the opposing coach warns the offense to watch out for a blitz from Smith, no one will know who he's talking about.

The Smith takeover continues. Good morning!

Josh from El Sobrante, CA

Hey Wes! The discussion about home fans selling their tickets to rivals got me thinking, what if each seller asked, let's say, three questions of the buyer to prove they were truly a Packers fan? If you were conducting the interrogation what would your three questions be?

1) Lynn Dickey threw a franchise record 32 touchdowns in 1983. Whose single-season record did he break? 2) What is Larry McCarren's nickname? 3) What is the name of Wayne Mausser's TV show?

John from Madison, AL

Von Miller always presents problems for opposing offenses; however, I think the Packers can handle him, Bradley Chubb, too. My biggest concern is Emmanuel Sanders. He is a real playmaker for Denver so what must the Packers do to prevent him from having a big game?

David Bakhtiari is one of the best in the business at left tackle and Bryan Bulaga may be the most underrated player in the league at his position. Fangio's scheme is challenging but those two are battle-tested. Sanders has been doing it at a high level for 10 years now. He's going to get his catches but the key is not allowing him to turn those into big gains. Jaire Alexander and Kevin King are healthy and flying high right now. They'll be ready.

Tony from San Juan Capistrano, CA

On that long TD catch by Stefon Diggs, it looked to me like Jaire Alexander sort of "short-armed" it. It looked like he thought he was going to make the catch instead of thinking to just swat the ball away from Diggs. Did you perhaps wonder about this as well? Thanks for all your great work!

Alexander was fantastic explaining his thought process in the locker room Wednesday. He wanted to high point the ball but there was the issue of the sun. Alexander said he'd definitely play the ball differently if he could do it over again. And if he still couldn't get there, he could've taken the penalty. The good thing is the 22-year-old cornerback doesn't make the same mistake twice. He gets it.

Ian from Kirkwhelpington, England

Guys, with what you saw at training camp, were you surprised on Sunday that Danny Vitale didn't carry the ball on third-and-short?

The Packers might go that direction in the future but there's a lot of confidence in Jones and Jamaal Williams in those short-yardage situations. This time of the year, it makes sense to stick with your proven bell cows.

Tim from Greensboro, NC

Hi Gents. When the schedule came out, I was a little ticked about the front-loaded home schedule. I am still a little flabbergasted we have only one division game, at home, late in the year and that is against another outdoor team. My hope now is for the offense to find its footing during these early home games and be on a roll come late October. Would you agree this is imperative?

I'm still not a huge fan of having six of the eight home games before mid-November but the Packers have to make the most out of this opportunity to start fast at home. You have to take care of business now and then grind it out on the road during the second half.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, how detailed is the information on Aaron Rodgers' wristband? Will he be sporting it against Denver?

The Packers held a private walkthrough instead of an open practice Wednesday to allow players to recover before this seven-day stretch with two games. So we won't know until later today if Rodgers is still wearing it or whether he'll wear it against Denver.

Steve from Appleton, WI

I see a humbler Aaron Rodgers: Stating that he needed to play better after Chicago, acknowledging his boneheaded play on fourth down against Minnesota, agreeing to try a wristband, etc. As one who sees and interacts with him as part of your job, are you seeing a humbler Aaron?

I'll leave the platitudes up to you guys but I see a quarterback who's energized, on board with the system and trying to make this offense and team better.

Mike from Lake Villa, IL

Mike, I love the plays you put together for WYMM. Week 2, Play 3 – Davante appears to "take out" a young lady on the sideline by the kicking net. I hope she is OK and Davante was gentleman enough to apologize. I have a feeling you and Wes like working from the press box just to avoid those situations!

Yes. I want no part of being run over by a professional athlete. The young lady waved off help immediately and indicated she was OK. Saved by the kicking net.

Tom from Mesa, AZ

Good morning. Just curious, when the Smiths were signed this offseason, did the personnel gurus know about their friendship beforehand? And was that a factor in getting them both? Glad they did! Thanks!

That's a good question because neither knew the other was signing with the Packers until after the contracts were done. If Brian Gutekunst and his scouts knew of their relationship, I'd guess it had to have been before free agency.

Eric from Mequon, WI

Two questions...First, do you think if the Packers had scored TDs every three drives instead we would have heard less of this "running out of gas" malarkey? Second, do you think that the experience of Mike Zimmer making in-game adjustments vs. a young head coach with limited experience had anything to do with it?

I think Zimmer's in-game adjustments present problems to anyone regardless of how long they've been a head coach. The Packers obviously still have areas of the offense they need to smooth out but they also took it to Zimmer's defense in a fashion I haven't seen before in that first quarter. I say it over and over, but the potential is there for this offense to be consistently explosive.

Brian from Columbia, MO

I know "power rankings" don't really mean much but I find it interesting that three of the four NFC North teams are in the top 10 for power rankings. Did anyone else notice that?

I've said since my Press-Gazette days the NFC North is the most underrated division in football. Statistically, you can prove it. Just go back to around 2010 and count how many times the division has had at least two teams represented in the playoffs. So no, it doesn't surprise me at all.

Mike from Ames, IA

Throwback unis on Sunday, and from what I've heard, it's the last time (for now) for these throwbacks. When should we expect to hear what the updated throwbacks for next season will look like? Do you expect the Packers to revert to the '29 unis or something different? I'd love the gold jersey/green number look.

You're right. This is the fifth and final year for this permutation of the Packers' throwback uniforms. I'm not sure which direction they'll go for the next third jerseys but I'd expect an announcement early 2020.

Patrick from Paducah, KY

I feel like it is becoming more of an unfortunate trend to see players such as Minkah Fitzpatrick and Jalen Ramsey demanding trades because they aren't "happy" with where they are. Do you agree this is becoming more of a negative occurrence throughout the league? Whom does it hurt more, the organization(s), the individual player(s), or the viewing public? I am glad that this isn't something the Packers have had to deal with. I think that speaks volumes about the leadership and character present in Green Bay.

This happens from time to time in the NFL. It's not unique to this era aside from maybe the emergence of social media making it more widely known. Whom does it hurt more? Probably the team more than the player, but every situation is different. It is an unnecessary distraction, though, especially once the regular season starts.

Andrew from Pollock Pines, CA

What is the status of Darnell Savage? I read he had a boot on?

Savage had a boot on after the game as a precaution but he was walking around fine in the locker room Wednesday. The Packers estimated him as a limited participant in practice. We'll see what happens today but Savage appears to be fine.

Lukasz from Dortmund, Germany

What makes this year's special teams better? I feel like there are less penalties.

Penalties are down, JK Scott is punting well and coverage has been solid. I think the Packers are just playing good, fundamentally sound football in the third phase.

Greg from Downers Grove, IL

If you saw the Denver game last Sunday the No. 72 should ring loud as this poor guy was flagged numerous times for holding. Time for the Smith Brothers to do their thing! I assume that MP will game plan around a potential weak link?

I'm not sure what's going on with Garret Bolles but the stats are what they are – he's been flagged for holding five times in two games. It's not like he's some undrafted plug-in, though. Bolles has a few pelts on the walls. He's a two-year starting left tackle and a former first-round pick for the Broncos. Regardless of how Bolles is playing, the Packers still want to keep the pressure coming with Za'Darius and Preston.

Christopher from Bellevue, WI

II – Packers beat the Broncos if:

The offensive line keeps Miller and Chubb at bay and the Packers' defense forces another takeaway or two.

George from Manassas, VA

So guys, how much longer can we continue to get these great waiver claims until our undefeated record removes all chance?

This is the last week. It shifts to current standings after Week 3.

Allen from Birmingham, AL

II: Raven Greene added to an IR list that already includes Jace Sternberger, E.Q. St. Brown, Jason Spriggs, and Curtis Bolton. I really wish more than two could be designated to return. Maybe they'll modify that. The (partially) silver lining is that there are quality players at many positions available to return when (not if) the injury bug bites over the next 6-8 weeks.

Only two of those players – Greene and Sternberger – are eligible to return this season, though. Two others on the physically unable to perform list, Ibraheim Campbell and Greg Roberts, are eligible to practice and play after the Lions game.

David from Appleton, WI

Wes, a comment, not a question. I have a Canadian friend who is a Ravens fan. We talk NFL constantly, comparing team notes along with general NFL news banter. I sent him a link to your Mitchell Henry story and video. His comment back to me was, "This should be mandatory viewing for all NFL players. That would hopefully prevent situations like Antonio Brown, Melvin Gordon, and many others." Thanks for creating and publishing meaningful content on a continual basis.

Thanks, David. I quickly wanted to congratulate Madison and the rest of the Henry family on Mitchell being inducted into the Elizabethtown High School Hall of Fame last weekend. What a tremendous honor for all of them.

Judy from Ann Arbor, MI

My husband had a liver transplant last week and was in ICU Sunday. The game was supposed to be televised down here in Lions territory, but FOX showed "Animal Planet" or something instead. I stood by my honey's bed, sharing my phone with him as I watched on NFL Mobile, and cheered very quietly. The win was a super bright spot in my week!

All the best to you both, Judy. I'm glad you guys were able to watch the game.

Steve from Rockville, MD

Will Rodgers get the franchise tag on him if he opts out when his contract is up?

Let's put a pin in this one for, I don't know, five years?

Dave from Lake Mills, WI

First, what did you do, Spoff, to have Wes go back to calling you Michael? He was calling you Mike for a few weeks. Wes hardly seems like an arbitrary person, there has to be some reason. Second, any insight as to why the Chiefs let go of Tremon Smith? When Tyreek Hill says the kid has wheels, that means something. Any idea how the Packers plan on using him?

Michael is two syllables, so it gives me an extra second to collect my thoughts. I'm not sure what played into KC letting Smith go other than it needed a spot for Byron Pringle, but Smith was one of the league's best kickoff returners a year ago. He'll have a chance to make an immediate impact on special teams.

Hannes from Milwaukee, WI

This secondary market comment made me want to share my story. Being a Packers fan originally from Austria, I met a girl from Wisconsin in summer 2016. We kept in touch and when she got secondary market tickets for the Seahawks game I decided to take her up on the invitation and booked a flight. Three years and three trips to Lambeau Field later we are happily married and looking forward to going to the Raiders game in October. Fair to say, the secondary market changed my life.

Wow. That kind of puts my story of meeting my wife on a class trip to Germany to shame.

Dan from Kenosha, WI

Insiders, Kenny Clark now has two more holding calls than any other defensive lineman in the history of football.

I'm going to try to ask him about that this week and see if he's been given any explanation. I'm curious.

Arthur from Altoona, WI

While watching the video of the team in the locker room after the game, I noticed a guy behind coach without a shirt on looking like, instead of a six-pack, he had a 12-pack. Would that fellow be Dan Vitale by any chance?

Yes, it was. The biggest biceps this side of the Fox River.

John from Fitchburg, WI

Just read the mid-week chat. I really had to smile at Mike's response to the question, "Wheat Thins or Triscuits?" "It depends on the cheese" is so accurate, and SO Wisconsin! Well done, sir!

Triscuits. I don't eat cheese.