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Inbox: He is an ongoing story

RB Aaron Jones
RB Aaron Jones

Joshua from Houston, TX

It was hard following two games Sunday night. I'm glad one team got a 7-1 win and another got to a 7-1 record.

Here’s to, hopefully, a Game 7 for all baseball fans out there. Yeah, folks, it’s me again. Wes needed a day to work on a project, so you get me two days in a row. I’m sure you’re thrilled.

Abel from Hermosillo, Mexico

I remember it was said here after the Philadelphia loss that we were about to see how this team reacts to adversity. So what does four straight wins tell us?

This team’s got something. I’m not sure exactly what, but it’s got something. I’ll also continue to maintain more responses to adversity will be necessary. The regular season is only half over.

Cheryl from Glens Falls, NY

I watched the game at the hospital with my husband being admitted for severe pancreatic disease. It was heart-lifting to watch our Packers be tough and resilient, and to see my husband smile watching some magic happen through AR and AJ. My question is, there seems to be an increasing wave of confidence with AR and the offensive weapons we have including our undrafted receivers. How do you foresee the offense looking when Davante is back?

All the best to you and your husband, Cheryl. Once Adams comes back, I foresee more opportunities to scheme other players open, much like the Packers are getting matchups they like on Jones now and taking advantage. How teams decide to defend Adams – shadow with the best corner, safety help over the top, etc. – will change the look of the field for the other weapons. LaFleur and Rodgers will study it and react accordingly.

Carl from Stevens Point, WI

How well is this offense spreading around the ball? Well, Aaron is ranked second in the NFL in passing yards. The receiver with the most yards? That’s MVS...currently ranked 35th in the league.

Nine players with at least 125 yards receiving through eight games, and a 10th just shy of 100. Only three times in the Favre-Rodgers era (I didn’t look back beyond that) have the Packers had at least 10 players with at least 100 receiving yards in a full season – 1996, 2007 and last year, when five of 11 had between 100 and 210. The numbers this year at the halfway point are astounding.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

Rodgers said something like "it all evens out" after the bad-calls outcry of the Lions game happened. I see so many missed calls or sometimes "ticky-tack" calls, even in Sunday night's game. When that wonderful drive ended in a field goal, I turned to my wife and said, "Did you see that guy hit Rodgers in the head and facemask?" Sure enough, there it was on the replay but no one called it. That would have been first-and-goal. So, I guess every team gets some give and take.

Just keep playing. Just keep playing.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

I can only imagine you both are quite tired. Having to work on Monday and watching the entire game, I know I’ve felt the afternoon fatigue setting in. So what time did you make it back to Green Bay and what is your caffeine of choice for a Sunday night road game – coffee, Red Bull, etc.? I have to imagine you needed some elixir to make it through a very long and busy night. On another note, I'll trade off a nice night of sleep for a Packers victory any time.

I’m not into caffeine drinks, but crashing early Monday night was a necessity. The plane landed around 1:30 a.m., I finished up my work and got to bed after 3, my wife left for her job at 5, I dropped my daughter off at school at 8:45 and then put in my usual Monday. Yes, victories help.

Michael from Portland, OR

On a kickoff can the returner call for a fair catch in the field of play and have the ball placed at the 25 like college? Can a punt returner after calling for a fair catch grab the ball after it hits the ground and not be hit assuming he fields it cleanly?

No and no.

Kathy from Middleton, WI

If I'm remembering correctly, this is the first year in a while the Packers have had a fairly late bye week. The timing looks to be perfect, as it will be good to be rested going into what will be one of the most challenging games of the year. Do you know if statistically speaking there is a general advantage to the timing of the bye week, in terms of late-season and playoff performance?

It has worked both ways for the Packers. The rather late bye (Week 9) in 2014 was hugely beneficial to make significant adjustments on defense. In other years, an early bye combined with a late-season mini-bye after a Thursday game (on Thanksgiving, for example) has set the team up nicely as well.

Brian from Schertz, TX

I often wonder if the “experts” and “pundits” ever actually watch the games they discuss. It seems the game reviewers rarely bring up anything that wasn’t first mentioned by the live game commentators. For example, there was only a passive mention of the play that Rodgers was hit in the helmet. Also, the announcers only said Lancaster got lucky because the ball bounced to him, but no mention that he caused the fumble. This is why your articles are so on point. You actually watched the game.

It helps.

Jeff from Victorville, CA

For all the Negative Nellies I've been noticing after the Chiefs game saying we were lucky Patrick Mahomes didn't play as the Packers couldn't even make Matt Moore have a bad day. The year was 2010 in December. The Patriots, who were once again having a great year, played a Packers team with a backup QB. Matt Flynn almost beat the Patriots, losing 31-27 and actually had better stats that day than Tom Brady himself. You just are not gonna win games every time 42-10.

Not even when you jump on top 14-0 in the first quarter.

Stevo from Chicago, IL

The Packers’ D is 28th against the run and that won't cut it in December or January. I haven't heard Kenny Clark's name called much for plays being made this year. What do you suppose would help improve the run D, personnel or scheme?

If you rely on scheme you’ll inevitably leave yourself vulnerable elsewhere. The Chiefs only had 88 yards on the ground with a long of nine. The run defense has been an issue, but it wasn’t near the top of the list in KC.

Brayden from La Crosse, WI

That was quite a game to watch. You were able to see the brilliance of Andy Reid working with a third-string QB in Matt Moore. We also continued to see Aaron Rodgers continue his MVP-caliber season, but something got me thinking. Why doesn't Aaron Jones get the same recognition as players like Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara? He seems to be the same type of two-way running back. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Why do people worry about recognition so much? McCaffrey was a Heisman runner-up. Kamara won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award and has played on two playoff teams with the Saints already. Jones now leads the NFL in touchdowns in 2019. The recognition will come if he keeps this up, but let’s acknowledge the other guys have done more to this point. That’s just reality.

Steve from Alexandria, VA

Other than longevity, with regard to skill sets, what doesn't Aaron Jones have in common with the likes of Thurman Thomas, Roger Craig, Marshall Faulk and other great multi-purpose backs?

There’s not a huge difference in the skill sets, but teams are going to adjust how they defend Jones. Defenses are going to start game-planning specifically for him, just like they did for those Hall of Fame names. Where he goes from here is what matters now. He is an ongoing story.

Michael from Dover, PA

Coach LaFleur deserves a ton of credit for the halftime adjustment of moving the running backs into receiving positions. Damien Wilson spent the first half terrorizing Aaron Rodgers and the second half chasing Aaron Jones. The time of possession battle paid huge dividends by wearing out KC’s defense by keeping them on the field. Not bad for a rookie coach.

A one-play turnover drive by the defense helped, too. From 10:04 left in the third quarter through 13:57 left in the fourth, Kansas City ran just that one play and the Packers scored 10 points.

Matthias from Colgate, WI

As excited as I am to see the Packers win, I wanted as much of the country to see the ultimate barometer to be healthy enough to play last night. Notwithstanding, Mr. Matt Moore played out of his mind in the effort in combination to Andrew Reid unlocking yet another genius achievement in the play design. My concern goes to the inability for the receivers to get open and the offensive line doing their job. What can be done by the Packers this week to do a better job of protecting the best asset?

Rodgers was sacked five times – same as against the Bears in Week 1 – and a couple of them looked like mix-ups in the protection calls against blitzes. Those are going to happen sometimes, especially on the road. A couple of the sacks were on Rodgers. You study the film and the looks that crossed you up because other teams might try the same stuff.

Todd from Eau Claire, WI

That was a gutsy win by the Packers against a very talented and well-coached team. Let's hope KC can bounce back next week.

I am very curious how that matchup with the Vikings is going to go.

Bob from Pocatello, ID

I learned something Sunday night that added to my perspective of tough wins. It seems like we would like our team to dominate every aspect of every game. But this is the NFL and those were the KC Chiefs. What I think I saw was that Mike Pettine put our players in the best position to slow down a bevy of offensive threats. So yes, we bled. But yes, we also prevailed. What I saw was coaching meshing with players to enable success against a still very potent KC team. Is this what you saw?

Pettine’s plan looks a lot better to the masses if the Packers tackle better. I think that’s obvious. The two TD passes in the second quarter featured major breakdowns and weren’t pretty. I believe the unit is better than it showed there. But the defense deserves credit for shaking it off. The Chiefs had 225 yards of offense on those three second-quarter scoring drives (starting late first quarter, to be accurate). They had 112 yards on their other six possessions, and a tough break on the Williams penalty added four points. Big picture, you take that effort.

Daniel from Lakeland, FL

Turnovers are said to be one of the most, if not the most, important factor in winning. The Chiefs game revealed how crucial the turnover can be. It is my impression the Packers have had few turnovers relative to the competition thus far. Do the statistics bear this out? If so, then this trend is vital to continued success.

Plus-seven is tied for second in the league, pending the Steelers’ stats from Monday night, for which I did not stay up.

Luke from Salt Lake City, UT

What's the biggest thing to look out for at our next "away" game against the Chargers at Lambeau West?

The Chargers have experienced a lot of failure at crunch time this year and that’s why they’re 3-5. Since winning their opener over Indy in overtime, they’ve pretty much done everything wrong late in close games, including Sunday in Chicago before they got bailed out by the missed kick. But this is a veteran crew, pretty much the same team that was playing lights out last December and into the playoffs. They might be due to have a fourth quarter go their way and challenge where the Packers have been strongest.

Sal from Hailey, ID

I've heard several times that we're expecting a home crowd in California, but I have no idea why. Is there just a huge contingent of Packer Backers on the West Coast?

Did you have the sound on during the game at the LA Coliseum last year? Pittsburgh played a “home” game against the Chargers out west earlier this month, and I expect something similar this Sunday.

Steve from Green Bay, WI

This weekend, aside from the Packers, I was pulling for the Redskins over the Vikings, Falcons over Seahawks, Bills over Eagles, Chargers over Bears, Giants over Lions, Bengals over Rams, Cardinals over Saints and Panthers over 49ers. Were it not for the Bears again snatching defeat from the jaws of victory I'd have gone "0-for" on the weekend on games to help the Packers. They're not going to make this easy on the Green and Gold, are they?

You were expecting help? Take whatever you can get, but never count on it.

Jeremy from Evansville

At the halfway point, I’m counting 11 playoff contenders in the NFC with six or seven of them looking like they have the strength and balance to go on a three- or four-game winning streak in January. Over in the AFC, I’m only seeing that kind of balance out of 3 or 4 teams. The NFC is stacked, man, and there are going to be several good clubs sitting home and watching the playoffs on TV. We still have a long way to go. Just beat the Chargers!

Happy Tuesday.

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