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Inbox: He's a freight train in shoulder pads

The Packers dug down deep to earn a gritty win

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Sleep went better, food tasted better, the sun was brighter, and the November air smelled fresher. Now rinse and repeat please. GPG.

A credit to those coaches and players, the Packers stared down adversity and said, "No. Not this time." The Pack is back in the win column. Good morning!

Michelle from Ringgold, GA

What does the Packers' OT win over Dallas mean?

It means they dug down deep to earn a gritty win – and grit grows if you water it. But now it's Tuesday…which is really more like a Friday…which means it's almost Sunday...which is on Thursday this week. Everyone can rest on Saturday…which is still on Saturday. Anyway, there's still more winning left to be done.

Nathan from Salt Lake City, UT

On Sunday, for the first time, Aaron Rodgers looked like Aaron Rodgers. Do you think he can replicate that enough to take us to the playoffs?

Aaron Rodgers turns 39 in a few weeks. At some point, I would imagine people will stop writing him off…or they won't. Either way, the answer to your question is a resounding yes. Matt LaFleur said it himself that Sunday was Rodgers' best game of the year.

Reardon from La Crosse, WI

Insiders, some prognosticators have been questioning Aaron Rodgers' will to win in lieu of the Packers' losing streak. I say they should take a look at the block he put on Donavan Wilson in OT which allowed Aaron Jones to get a few extra critical yards and tell me if A-Rod has lost his competitive mojo. I am eager to read your thoughts.

Again, I think that narrative is ridiculous. Nobody wants it more than Aaron Rodgers. Ever.

Jim from St. Pete Beach, FL

Hi Wes! I was watching the game at a bar in NYC, and on the overtime drive I couldn't help screaming out "that's a freaking AWESOME block by Rodgers" (except I didn't say freaking). What went through your mind when you saw that live?

"Oh fudge."

Arnie from Kirkwood, MO

It was great seeing AR under center more often than not. It sure seemed to open up play-action after establishing the run game. Hope it continues!

I'm sure it'll be a topic of conversation again this afternoon during his locker-room availability. Hopefully, Rodgers' thumb continues to improve and increased snaps under center becomes even more viable. As good as the Packers are running out of the shotgun, everything seemed more in sync with the offense back in more traditional sets. It makes weekly game plans less predictable, too.

Tim from Olathe, KS

Insiders, I sat about 50 feet from the Titans' bench when they played the Chiefs last Sunday night. Derrick Henry is a beast! DBs were making a business decision to conveniently fall near him rather than taking him head-on. I don't blame them. I cannot compare him to anyone else. Can you?

He's a freight train in shoulder pads. Or as Joe Barry put it on Monday, Henry "looks like Preston Smith when he breaks the huddle." Defenses must have a tackling plan because Henry is just too much human to be taken down with solo tackles. All hats to the ball for 60 minutes.

Jake from Decatur, GA

Mike, Wes, God, whoever: What do the Packers need to do on offense this Thursday to get on a winning streak? I think we all know the answer on defense.

Run the ball well against a formidable front and create third-and-manageable situations. Tennessee's defense is quite the riddle. It's second against the run (85.1 yards per game) and tops in third-down defense (27.9%) but 31st vs. the pass (272.6 ypg) and last in fourth-down defense (82.4%). I think Sunday showed how a steady run presence can set up the passing game for explosive opportunities. The Packers need to continue to beat that offensive drum.

Tom from Lakewood, CO

Did you have a favorite play of the game? Mine was the block Aaron Rodgers threw on Donovan Wilson. That was awesome!

Christian Watson's first touchdown catch, which was the Packers' longest offensive play of the season. I just feel like an explosive play like that can go far for an offense, let alone being a tremendous confidence boost for a rookie receiver. We only had a handful of opportunities to watch Watson during camp due to injuries, but he was must-see football every day he was on the field – as you saw that on Sunday.

Rob from Panama City Beach, FL

Well, well, well run the ball effectively and stop the run. Mix in a couple of huge plays, two turnovers and bring on the Titans on a cold winter's night!

That plan worked pretty doggone well 23 months ago at Lambeau. Just ask AJ Dillon.

Doug from Lafayette, OH

Good morning, Wes. Could it be a good thing to play the next game on a short week? I tend to think it could be a benefit to keep the momentum moving forward.

I don't think there's ever a good reason to play on a short week, but I certainly like the outlook better for the Packers now coming off an uplifting win of that magnitude.

Christopher from Frederick, MD

I just want to thank big Matt LaFleur for sticking to the gameplan of running the ball, even when down by 14, in the fourth. That, to me, was the reason Green Bay won the game, even more so than Christian Watson and Rudy Ford stepping up.

The Packers looked like themselves again. Allen Lazard even said after the game that his quick slant in overtime probably doesn't work if the Packers don't run the ball as well as they did in regulation. Things looked how they're supposed to look.

Check out more photos from Sunday's Week 10 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field on Nov. 13, 2022.

Scott from Palos Park, IL

If the question is: How do you slow down the top-rated pass rush in the NFL? Apparently, the answer is 207! Do you repeat the same recipe in three days?

It's difficult to pin your ears back and get after the quarterback when a defensive front is worried about Jones and Dillon blowing past it.

Andy from Minneapolis, MN

Watching Aaron Jones dominate, it got me thinking, how does the front office find these guys? Fifth-round bargain from hardly a topflight school. Is it constant film study? Someone out on the road that sees a spark? Any ideas?

Ted Thompson's last great find. A lot of credit goes to the regional scouts who do the legwork on these prospects, but Thompson had a sixth sense for identifying unheralded talent on Day 3. Jones had solid numbers in college, but it wasn't against the highest level of competition. That's where projection comes in. The Packers rolled the dice, and the rest is history. Jones probably ranks among the top 10 all-time best picks by Thompson, pound-for-pound.

Patrick from Marvin, NC

I thought that it was more fun watching our defense play against Dallas with all of the injuries on that side of the ball. I look at injuries to key players as an opportunity to find another De'Vondre Campbell or Rasul Douglas type of player. How do you feel about how the LBs played?

I thought they handled it well, especially playing without their defensive QB and all the moves in the secondary. Barry said there was some issues fitting the run against the halfback draw plays, but Isaiah McDuffie and Quay Walker flew around for 4½ quarters. I felt like moving Darnell Savage to nickel cornerback and inserting Rudy Ford next to Adrian Amos at safety was a worthwhile changeup, too, without Eric Stokes. The Packers have had games this season where the statistics looked OK, but the defense wasn't able to make a key stop when the team needed it. The box score might not have been the prettiest Sunday, but I felt the defense competed and gave Green Bay a chance to win the game.

Robert from Chandler, AZ

Jaire Alexander is truly an elite cornerback. Gives very little space to whoever he's guarding – and can close that little gap in a blink. Great tackler and ball-hawk, but what I find fascinating is his technique in man coverage: He has this way of draping himself around the receiver, keeping the right arm free for deflection, and without getting flagged for PI (receivers hate it). I honestly don't know of another cornerback who can pull this off.

Because Alexander is so confident in his abilities that he never panics. He never gets grabby. It's like watching a Broadway play. Everything is so effortless.

Jay from Altoona, WI

I don't want to get ahead of myself because one game does not make a season or a career. However, wouldn't it be nice for the Packers if Rudy Ford could be to this team as Rasul Douglas and De'Vondre Campbell were to the defense last season?

Brian Gutekunst and his pro personnel scouts have found so many good in-season fits for this team. Every year, there seems to be a couple guys who come in late and produce. Ford and Dallin Leavitt have been those guys this year. Hopefully, Johnathan Abram and Corey Ballentine can, too.

Jeanne from Holliston, MA

Like everyone else, I'm just thrilled that the Packers beat the Cowboys! What a great team effort! It's amazing to me that we barely heard Micah Parsons' name mentioned at all during the game. Was there something in the game plan (besides emphasizing the run) that made it possible for the Packers to neutralize that game-wrecker?

You could still feel Parsons' presence, but Green Bay had a good plan for him. His sideline-to-sideline speed is impressive, though. He cut off the corner for Jones in ways few other linebackers have. What's more, the two sacks the Packers allowed represented the only times Rodgers was hit. That's a credit to the offensive line, whose performance against the run helped contribute to how clean they managed to keep the pocket vs. the pass.

John from Grand Forks, ND

I know we are on to Tennessee, but I saw this stat line today and wanted to tip my cap to the O-line, TEs and RBs. NFL NextGen stat of the game: Micah Parsons generated zero QB pressures on just eight pass rushes, the first game with no pressures in his career.

That is something else. What did we learn, class? Just execute…baby.

Jeff from Lake Forest, CA

A lot to consider with this game, not the least of which is an OT game with the short week. Is there anybody injured with the possibility of coming back this week, or more likely they'd be held out till after the mini bye?

Tipa Galeai was designated to return to practice last week and Randall Cobb is eligible this week. LaFleur said Cobb "potentially" could be back. The Packers will use their walkthrough practices to get a gauge on where the veteran wideout is at.

Jeremy from Westford, MA

Why was Ramiz Ahmed kicking off against Dallas instead of Mason Crosby?

I could tell you…but I'd rather get the extra click.

Richard from Woodruff, WI

Hello Mike and Wes, I hope you are well. I know it's difficult to talk about the elephant in the room, but it's obvious, and I feel bad for him. What are your thoughts on Amari Rodgers? Whatever is going on with him is crippling his confidence and the coaches' trust. The spotlight is on him in a negative light. It's unfortunate. Thanks.

I don't like kicking guys when they're down. Echoing what Rich Bisaccia said on Monday, I, too, really like Amari Rodgers, the person. I thoroughly enjoyed writing my post-draft profile on him two years ago. But this is a business and "No. 8" has had some problems on punt returns. The Packers are looking at everything right now. We'll see what adjustments are made.

Jeffery from Brooklyn, WI

Hello II, how come it took so long for Keisean Nixon to return punts? I understand giving Amari the chance to do a better job, but once Nixon took over you could see the confidence he plays with compared to Rodgers. I think Rodgers should play slot receiver; the more he does the better he will become! Let him do what he was drafted to do.

Nixon had done it in an NFL regular-season game before. It's one thing to do it in practice but the scenario is much different in a live setting. Nixon definitely has the temperament for it. He's a strong-willed individual.

Jeff from Lake Forest, CA

A lot was made of AR and MM's return this week, but I'm curious if anything similar happened with MM and Mason Crosby? He's obviously tenured as well, and MM stuck with him in 2012 when it's unlikely any other coach would've. I'm sure there are strong feelings there too, just curious if there was any discussion about that, obviously understanding the QB/HC relationship is just different.

Crosby spoke about McCarthy with reverence last week for the trust the former Packers coach showed in him during a trying 2012 season. Unfortunately, they weren't able to meet up before the game due to all their obligations. It happens. Everyone has a job to do on gamedays.

Mike from Albuquerque, NM

Not to be a downer, but given the pattern he set Sunday, does Christian Watson need more practice on the Lambeau Leap? He did his back flip, but it looked like the fans had to assist him in getting into the crowd.

Hey, they can't all be John Kuhn.

Diane from Onalaska, WI

Is luck on Minnesota's side or what?

The Vikings have made their own luck this season with how well they've played in the fourth quarter. Buffalo shot itself in the hoof a few times on Sunday and Minnesota made the Bills pay for it.

JR from Silvis, IL

With Fields' play as of late, do you think the Bears might be regretting moving Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn?

I don't think so. As productive as Quinn was last year, he can be a streaky pass rusher – and he's not getting any younger. It sounds like the Bears and Smith couldn't come to an agreement on an extension, so trading him was the best Chicago could do to enhance his value.

Larry from Keyser, WV

What's the worst regular season record the Packers have ever had and still made the playoffs?

8-7-1, 2013.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Whew, I was so pumped up by the finish to our game that I watched the live interviews for the first time. Loved the music between interviews. Which of you guys provided the playlist?

The music is from the WALKMAN of our game and live production coordinator, Matt Arvin.

Mike from Madison, WI

Good morning, Wes. While reading Monday's Inbox, I couldn't help but notice the different tone. It is amazing how a win can change things. No shouts for trading for this guy or clamoring for signing that guy. Just praise of the substitutes, the team and the gameplan. That must be why ML says to take it one game at a time. I continue to enjoy the perspective you and Mike bring. Wins, also, have to make the job a little easier. Now, bring on Tennessee. Go Pack Go!

As the great Nuke LaLoosh once told Crash Davis on a road trip with the Durham Bulls, "I love winning, man. You hear what I'm saying? It's like better than losing." The enthusiasm was palpable in the postgame locker room. Guys were jacked. From the sound of it, it was the same way on the sideline throughout the game. You love to see it.

John from El Dorado Hills, CA

Dean from Leavenworth can't retire.

Dean standing here like, "Just when I thought he was out, they pull me back in."

Matt from Waunakee, WI

Wes, do you ever do a back flip after hammering out a really good article?

I'd probably throw my back out. I'll stick to celebratory fist bumps with Spoff. Have a great day, folks.

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