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Inbox: He needs to be in the conversation

C Corey Linsley
C Corey Linsley

Jesse from Truth or Consequence, NM

Hello, I woke up with a kink in my neck. Should I be concerned about Sunday after this development?

As James Jones used to say, you better get in the training room and get that treatment. Good morning!

Michael from Madison, WI

If he keeps it up, is Corey Linsley this year's AP All-Pro center?

Linsley is criminally underrated. I thought when he came into the league in 2014 he'd be a multiple-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro by now. Coaches, teammates and Aaron Rodgers will tell you how well he's played and how vital he is to the offense. If that's not good enough, ESPN analytics also have him rated as one of the game's best centers. He needs to be in the conversation. Linsley is unassuming with how he handles his job but his praise is long overdue. The same goes for Bryan Bulaga.

Jesse from Bonita Springs, FL

Totally concur with Mike's sentiment about keeping both running backs fresh as the season wears on. With that being said, when do you suspect we see Dexter Williams getting in there? I've always thought a team needs 3-4 RBs to maintain balance and stay fresh into a 20-game season. In my opinion, we need to see him in some game action to know if he has future hope, as I was really impressed with his natural ability to see the field in the preseason.

It's the Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams show right now and it needs to stay that way. Those two guys are too talented and too essential to the offense to take them off the field. The Packers haven't played in many blowouts this year, which has reduced Dexter Williams' opportunities. Unless that happens, Jones and Williams have to be the featured act.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

All the sports media don't give the Packers any chance Sunday, I believe this will fuel Rodgers and others to prove them all wrong! The Niners have had trouble with mobile QBs, so do you believe they will make a game plan for Rodgers to do more RPOs this game and also keep it for running?

If you're writing the Packers off, you haven't been paying attention. I expect a 60-minute slugfest. Rodgers has reined in his running a little the past two years (2.7 rushes per game) but can still move the chains with his feet.

Josh from Holland, OH

I'm planning on celebrating my birthday and a Packers win on Sunday! How important will it be for us to have a fast start? I think if we can get up by a score or two quickly and force Jimmy G to play catch up it'll work in our favor. Also how do you think we're gonna try and slow down the Niners' pass rush? Looking forward to cake, ice cream, and a great game. GO PACK GO!!

A fast start is critical on both sides of the ball. As a team going on the road against a 9-1 opponent, the Packers have to set the tone early. They didn't do that in LA and never found rhythm. The key to stopping San Francisco's pass rush is not complicated. The 49ers will try to get home with four, so the offensive front needs to do its job. The running backs need to stay alert, too. Robert Saleh has a bevy of pass-rushing options and he isn't afraid to throw them all at you on occasion.

Jason from Austin, TX

The first defensive touchdown for the Packers? A strip-sack by Preston Smith and a pickup returned for a touchdown by Za'Darius Smith. Perfect!

I would call that the ideal fast start.

Lincoln from Eau Claire, WI

An aside to Mike from Ames, the Packers may not have a TD on defense this year but they have forced at least three end-zone INTs I can recall (CHI, MIN, CAR) and Derek Carr's fumble at the goal line. To me, these are about as good as defensive scores by taking what would appear to be sure points away from the opposing team. Through all the ups and downs, this year's Packers D has been a resilient group to be proud of.

There's no question the Packers must get the explosive plays cleaned up but points win games, not yards. And Green Bay has succeeded in keeping the opponent out of the end zone this season. That identity endures and gives the Packers a chance to win every time they take the field.

Corey from Richland, WA

What do you make of the lack of touchdowns for Davante Adams thus far this season? I know he missed four games due to injuries, but he has played five complete games and only missed the very end of another. I think the emergence of Davante's touchdown celebrations will be a key down the stretch.

I don't make much of it. D.J. Moore is having a breakout year and still only has one TD in 10 starts. Adams is the biggest playmaker in this offense. His two catches of 35-plus yards against Carolina came on touchdown-producing drives. Points are points. Now will he have 14 TDs again this year? Probably not, but the Packers are also much better running the ball in the red area than previous years.

Dana from Eau Claire, WI

How does D-Train stop George Kittle and the running game? Do you see them loading the box and playing more man-on-man coverage?

We have to see whether Kittle plays. He hasn't practiced, let alone played, since gutting it out against Arizona on Halloween. If Kittle plays, Ibraheim Campbell could make a sizable difference for this defense. I felt he played well against the Panthers, especially against the run, and could be an important piece in a hybrid role against a multiple offense.

Al from Green Bay, WI

The "Smith Brothers" have accounted for 18½ sacks already. SF has had some injuries at the tackle position. If you are the Niners, might you sacrifice some receiving potential from your tight ends and running backs to provide blocking help?

Probably (and most definitely if Kittle doesn't play). San Francisco naturally plays in a lot of bunch formations. That allows tight ends, running backs and Kyle Juszczyk to chip those edge rushers, too. Depending on what happens with that offensive line, it could make the Smiths really dangerous in this game with how Mike Pettine likes to move them around the front.

Margo from Solvang, CA

In watching the Seahawks-49ers game a couple of week ago, I was struck by the electricity in Levi's Stadium. The crowd was loud and the 49ers were incredibly pumped up. I thought there was no way they could sustain that level of intensity for the whole game. Sure enough, the Seahawks rode out the enthusiasm wave, played tough defense and came out with a win. Can the Packers follow a similar formula?

It won't be easy but that's what must be done Sunday night. The crowd is going to be lit at kickoff. The Packers have to ride out that wave, stay level-headed and put the Levi's crowd on silent.

Dale from Warren, MI

Which Packers quarterback has the most rushing touchdowns?

Interesting time to ask this. Aaron Rodgers (28) needs only one more rushing TD to tie Tobin Rote for that honor.

JT from Beaver Dam, WI

Hey guys! Hope you had a relaxing bye week. My question is when teams look at film, do they have angles and different shots that the TV viewers do not see during the game? If so, are the teams in charge of filming or is there some sort of league-wide standard for filming?

Yeah, NFL teams have video departments that shoot from atop the stadium during games, which later becomes the "All-22" footage on NFL Game Pass later in the week. They take the same approach in practice. The coaches will use all that footage to review, break down and teach.

Brayden from La Crosse, WI

Are you as surprised as I am with the very little number of noon games the Packers have had? The 49ers game will be their fifth prime-time game. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't a team only allowed to have six in a season? If that's the case, then their only other one would be the Vikings on Dec. 23. Which if I may add is my birthday! I know it will be a good one. Go Pack Go!

Correct. Any Week 17 game is subject to being flexed but I don't foresee that happening right now with San Francisco traveling to Seattle that same weekend and the Packers playing the currently 3-6-1 Lions.

Craig from Appleton, WI

The Packers faced Emmanuel Sanders earlier this year when he played for the Broncos. Does that experience matter in terms of knowing what to expect covering him, or does the change in offensive philosophy from Denver to San Francisco negate that knowledge?

Jaire Alexander had a good day against Sanders earlier this year, so there's a lot of good tape to go off of from that Week 3 contest. Interestingly enough, Sanders only has caught six passes for 39 yards in three games against Green Bay.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

Have you ever seen Mason Crosby or JK Scott throw passes? Who has the better arm?

I heard Scott can throw a wicked snowball. So I guess I'd have to give him the nod.

Keith from Truro, Nova Scotia

Hi Mike and Wes, in watching some of the NFL games, when a team gets down to around the 5-yard line, they most often want to pass the ball with little success. I think anything inside the 10-yard line especially with first-and-goal, they should be running the play for the first two tries. If that fails, then maybe pass. Relying too much from that close in. What do you say?

I say Nova Scotia is beautiful and I hope to get there someday. I also say your plan is predictable. Winning teams can run the ball in scoring territory but they need to have the threat of the pass in their back pocket, too.

Josh from Salt Springs, New Brunswick

I think what Jeff from Milwaukee was asking, is do coaches prepare for two weeks for the 49ers, or do they take a week, then after the bye week, spend a week game-planning?

Yep. I botched that all the way down to forgetting about the New York Giants game. The coaching staff took a couple days off last week but otherwise used the extra time to focus on prep for the 49ers. The bye came at a good time in more ways than one.

Ross from Roswell, GA

Gents, hear the talk about the next CBA and adding a 17th game and an additional bye week? Any thoughts?

I've never been a proponent of adding another game, but I'm kind of resigned to it. I think it's the carrot needed for owners to concede to the NFLPA in other areas.

Benjamin from San Mateo, CA

How does the offense prepare for the extra noise for road games? Do they do anything like pipe in noise during practice so they get experience not being able to hear each other well?

Loud music. Mike McCarthy used white noise but I only noticed music during training camp this year.

Chris from New Canaan, CT

Answering this may be the equivalent of revealing deep state secrets, so I'll understand if I get Bupkis, but I'll ask anyway: What percentage of visitors to packers.com click on the Inbox as their first engagement on the site? I bet the number is pretty high. (I'll make the over/under at 77%. And, for the sake of good order, I have no idea if Bupkis is capitalized or not.)

It is our most read article each day so I assume it's fairly high, especially in the morning hours. I couldn't give you an exact number or percentage, though.

Larissa from Minnetonka, MN

A lot of ways to get a Q published in II. What's your favorite? The monologue followed by a non-sequitur question to maintain the veneer of posing an actual query? The thesis statement ended with a closed question tacitly encouraging you to agree? The scorched-earth statement that compels you to answer in absolutes? The flattery question that lavishes you with praise to earn cachet from you? The late-to-the-party question on a topic already well-covered? The direct question without preamble?

Direct questions. That's how the Inbox favorites get published as often as they do. Keep it to two lines and you stand a good chance at getting published, especially during the offseason.

Michael from Chanhassen, MN

Hey Mike, I agree about the ball placement on the Brewers logo. I did not even look that close when I first saw them but after you mentioned it, I looked again and thought the same thing. It was better in the old position. Oh well, they are still very nice unis.

Yeah. It was almost like they were trying to make it a little too perfect but it was still the right call. That's an iconic logo that should have never been replaced in the first place.

Bob from Springfield, IL

Hello Insiders and a good day to all! Mike and Wes, I am curious about whether you had any pregame rituals from your youth sports days and what they were? Also, I would love to buy Mike a beer (I guess I will buy Wes a root beer) next time I get up north!

I wasn't an athlete for long, so it was probably just eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I also laid my uniform out the night before a game, which I guess I still kind of do that now with my suit.

Nic from London, UK

Home-field playoff advantage does increase odds of success but it's important for the team to acknowledge its own agency in that outcome. Playing away didn't just happen to them. They failed to get the job done in the regular season; it's a just consequence. Moreover, Brett Favre dropped an NFC Championship at home and Rodgers a bad one to the Giants (though both ended up being SB-winning teams) so home field is no guarantee anyways. Just win baby! Which Packer is most fun at a party?

You're right. You gotta earn it…and hope Lance Easley isn't the official. Jamaal Williams has to be the most fun at a party, right? Is there anyone else even close?

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