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Inbox: He's a treat to watch play the game

All of those need to be under the tree

CB Keisean Nixon

Brock from West Lafayette, IN

Good morning! Mike, you better watch out. Looks like Wes brought in some muscle in the form of Braun Strowman to protect his lunches! What's your counter move?

Tell him I've got The Rock on speed dial. That'll get his attention.

Cory from Mauston, WI

Mike, I am going to keep my expectations in check for Monday night! Just get the win. I do predict that if you can make it through your live blog without using the word "Mercy" we will come out on the right side of the game! That needs to go away from our vocabulary for the remainder of the playoff push!

For the record, I don't think that made it into the live blog. Yeah, a good sign.

Joe from Pittsburgh, PA

Kudos to Kenny Clark for a dominating performance tonight. It looked like Aaron Donald had put on a Packer uniform. What a beast!

Clark is a workhorse on the interior taking on those double teams. I'm sure the week off did him and his legs a world of good.

Dave from Huntsville, AL

5 targets, 5 catches, 55 yards. I'd say Romeo is back.

I love the way he snatches the ball with his hands. There's a snap to his catches. Hopefully this is just the start of a strong stretch run for him.

Jonathan from Walnut Creek, CA

Definition of complementary football: See second half Packers vs. Rams. Offense TD-Defense three and out-Offense TD. So nice to see the green and gold come together (albeit a bit late in the season), definitely the best start-to-finish game of the season. Even if we don't end up in the playoffs, this was a great vision of what our future potential may procure.

The 2022 draft class had one heck of a night, that's for sure. The game-deciding stretch of complementary football to start the second half also included the third phase – a 17-yard punt return by Nixon (plus the facemask penalty) for great field position.

Anthony from Jamestown, ND

Do you think the key to being a successful return man is physical traits, or is it more intangibles like mindset and vision?

It's everything. Keisean Nixon has a lot packed into his 5-10, 200-pound frame. He's a treat to watch play the game.

Ben from Chicago, IL

Is special teams fixed? Is that all it takes -- to get the right returner?

It certainly helps, but it also takes a better holder on field goals, fewer penalties, better tackling as well.

Joseph from Vermillion, SD

What was your favorite postgame quote? Mine was: "That's a great question for Rasul." … It's almost as if someone told him about that Patriots game and it put the idea in his head and he couldn't help it.

Douglas gave a great explanation to reporters of what happened. It's in Wes's story on the defense. But he didn't really explain why because I don't think anyone can.

Mike from Algoma, WI

Now that is how you close out a game!

12 plays, 85 yards, 7:12 off the clock, then three kneel-downs for the final 1:39. The second half time of possession was 21:56 to 8:04. That's absurd, but as both LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers said after the game, "That's winning football."

Tom from Saugus, CA

Well, a win is a win but they will need to play much better than this to beat the Dolphins on the road. Still a few mental errors and a few bad breaks but against a banged-up Rams team they did not prove fatal in the long run. This team still does not strike me as a playoff-caliber team given the mental lapses and inconsistencies, but I am enjoying these last games of the season as they are all win or stay home just like the playoffs. GPG!

The Packers haven't proven they're a playoff-caliber team. They have three tests in that regard and must pass all three.

Chuck from Sun Prairie, WI

On one of his touchdowns, Dillion received push help from behind. I think, with his extra effort, he would have scored without the assist. Hope he doesn't have a concussion. What did you see in this win that leads you to believe we can win versus Miami?

Several nice holes in the running game against a strong run defense. Effective ball-control football. The defense's best pass rush since Gary's injury. All of those need to be under the tree on Christmas day.

Kristen from Glendale, AZ

Thank you for the beautiful article about Crosby. As amazing as our team of players is, there is no one I respect more than Mason. His commitment to family and community is inspiring, especially in light of his similar commitment to his team. I hope Packer Nation appreciates the rare gem he is. Men like him don't come around very often (let alone stick around for 16 seasons).

If you haven't yet read Wes's great piece on Crosby, be sure to check it out. I know it's cliché, but he truly has been the same guy since the day I first talked to him as a rookie, and that's rare in this business.

Chuck from Benton, KY

Do the Packers retire Crosby's No. 2?

If he gets into Canton, which is not a given, I could see it being up for discussion. If he doesn't, then it won't happen.

George from North Mankato, MN

Hello Mike, are there any salary cap ramifications in releasing Sammy Watkins? Can you point to anything that prevented him from making a bigger impact this season? Do you have any memorable stories of his time in Green Bay?

Unless he's claimed, the Packers owe Watkins his salary for the rest of the season because he's a vested veteran who was on the roster Week 1. I don't know all the ins and outs, but a combination of injuries, mental errors, not being on the same page with the QB and other miscommunications rendered him ineffective. It's too bad it didn't work out. I give Watkins credit for always being receptive and accommodating to the Green Bay media when he arrived and when things weren't going well. I found him to be an engaging interview.

See scenes from the Monday night matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field on Dec. 19, 2022.

Nick from Prescott, WI

I am sure you guys remember back in the day when Rodgers was under center, and he would barely turn his head and look at Jordy (or Jennings or Jones), and they would barely look back at him and all of the sudden TD. They were all on the same page. A wink, a nod. When Christian Watson didn't look back as Rodgers was rubbing his right arm pre-snap, I could see why Rodgers was so frustrated with him. Watson is going to be special, though.

He is far from a finished product, and there are more growing pains ahead. But anytime the ball is in his hands with any room around him, everyone inhales and widens their eyes. His potential impact on any given play is undeniable.

Gary from Davenport, IA

Mike, when the Vikings were down 33-0, I texted a friend who is a Minnesota fan and told him not to give up. I relayed the story of when I was at a UW-Platteville game in 1980 and they trailed 33-0, but came back to win 52-43. I stuck around for the whole game. It was the largest NCAA football comeback ever at that time. The team was coached by George Chryst (Paul's dad). You were likely too young to have attended the game but do you remember anything about it?

If it was against UW-Eau Claire, I was at that game. I remember watching a huge comeback as a kid against Eau Claire. Too young to recall the details, but I might've been there.

Richard from Madison, CT

Hey II, as a lover of symmetry, how great would it have been if Frank Reich could have still been coach of the Colts? The same man on the opposite ends of the two greatest comebacks in NFL history.

If Reich had still been the Colts coach, that comeback wouldn't have happened. That was coaching malpractice on Indy's part, which frankly the organization deserved.

Jim from Phillips, WI

A coach can have all the fire and drive and desire in the world, but if he doesn't have the chutzpah and the innate ability to get the absolute best out of his players, that disconnect is pretty much insurmountable.

True that.

Jerad from Fitchburg, WI

How did no one ask about your thoughts on the Raiders vs. Patriots game? How do you not just play to overtime? Crazy ending.

The lack of situational awareness was as stunning as the full-on, stiff-arm, body-plant of the Patriots QB as the last man in the way was comical.

Thomas from Cedar Rapids, IA

After the weekend of passively watching football, I am glad I'm not a rabid fan of the Colts, Commanders, Buccaneers, or Patriots. Those fans have to be incredibly frustrated with their teams and/or the refs. I need to learn to temper my expectations (as you have told us many times) and just enjoy the games. Maybe I'll work on that when I retire.

I say it all the time, this is a crazy league, and it's not getting any less crazy.

Benjamin from Burlington, VT

Always happy to see a victory, but my biggest surprise might be that this was the largest margin of victory for the week, even without that final touchdown!

12 of 16 games in Week 15 were one-possession affairs. I don't think I've ever seen that before.

Mike from Niles, IL

Mike, you and Steve from Algoma both agree the safety-related rules are unmanageable. Agree. But I maintain that You (a universal "you" to most football commentators and announcers) are partially to blame. Whenever the issue comes up, a phrase like "but I support all player safety rules" is added to the comment, which invariably pushes the rule-makers to add more, or emphasize more, these rules. You commentators must do a better job of expressing your thoughts.

I've never made, nor heard others make, a blanket statement saying they support all player safety rules. I'm firmly on the record the body-weight rule on QB sacks is a bad rule, and there's also not enough wiggle room for incidental contact to a QB's helmet. But the issue isn't the rules themselves anyway. It's that the league has given the officials too much to manage without allowing for replay review as it pertains to safety rules. Do that, which would allow for the officials to better focus on all the usual rules prior to the safety era, and I believe the officiating overall would improve.

Vince from Auburn, WA

I really like what Dan Campbell is doing with the Lions. The team believes in him, which is a dangerous asset going into the final stretch of the season. What do you see as the Lions' biggest weakness heading into the last three games?

Probably Jared Goff's history of damaging mistakes. He threw seven interceptions in the Lions' first eight games this season, but has none since. He's on a great run, but how long will it continue?

Bill from Louisburg, KY

Guys, I enjoy the inbox as much as the next, but I can't let this slide by. Wes posted this as part of his answer on Saturday when responding to Jerry from Green Bay, " Mike expertly pointed out, the Packers are 12-2 under Matt LaFleur when playing outdoor games in the Midwest in December and January." This is not a bragging point. The two in the 12-2 are the home playoff losses to Tampa and San Fran. I think I would keep that statistic in my pocket.

I'm not diminishing the playoff losses. But there's a narrative amongst this fan base that the cold weather doesn't help the Packers anymore, because of those games. Looking at all the evidence, that's not true. It's incredibly disappointing the conditions haven't proven to be an advantage in two immensely important games, but on balance that's the exception in the LaFleur era, not the rule. It's 13-2 now. I'll happily take my chances with that.

TK from Grafton, WI

So, what is your late night/early morning schedule like after a Packer Monday night game?

Well, I'm finishing this in the wee hours and heading home to get whatever sleep I can before coming in to start reviewing the game film. I'm sure I won't feel normal again until around Thursday.

Chris from Eau Claire, WI

What do you think about thawing out in the Miami sun before finishing the final two weeks of the season in the freezer?

Whatever it takes. Happy Tuesday, or whatever day it is now.


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