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Inbox: He's as steady and reliable as they come

It’s a taller task than most realize

LB Preston Smith
LB Preston Smith

Racinray from Sarasota, FL

Heading into next week with a W, a thesaurus to figure out the complementary thing, and a Ken-ny Clark earworm. Thank you to the II for such things. Memories make us rich.

We do our best.

Curt from Tampa, FL

I guess we are all Bears fans for the next few hours. Any help you can offer to pull off this most unnatural situation?

Just train your brain that nothing is more cringeworthy than purple tonight.

Ryan from Sheboygan Falls, WI

Will Jordan Love continue to get better?

I can't guarantee that. What I do believe is he's not yet as good as he can be.

Greg from Big Lake, MN

Seems a common complaint of some young quarterbacks is they turn into "check-down Charlies." But not JLove. His comfort in the pocket, ability to run and especially his confidence to throw the ball down the field is encouraging.

He's shown less and less hesitation as the season has gone along. His downfield risks haven't always paid off. But he's stayed on the attack and has kept giving his guys chances to make plays.

Ron from Mitchell, SD

I haven't seen Tom Clements name mentioned much here. He must have seen something special in JL10 since he stayed after AR12 moved on.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The most impactful thing Rodgers did for this franchise in what became his final season in '22 was getting Clements to come back.

James from Boise, ID

The defensive backfield has held up well with all the new faces, but is there any word on when Alexander, Savage, Ford, or Stokes might be back?

Nope. But Jaire Alexander has been listed as limited on the injury report the last two weeks. Rudy Ford was limited last week. Darnell Savage had his activation window opened. So let's see what this week brings.

Dan from Beloit, WI

Still on cloud nine over the win Thursday. Quick question: When was the last time the Packers scored 29 points?

29 exactly? Week 2 of 2018, in a 29-all tie vs. the Vikings.

Bob from Mahtomedi, MN

Wes/Spoff, for some reason I've been interested in Sean Rhyan. How do you see his future? Possible starter? Quality backup? Or "on the bubble"? I like his size and where he was drafted.

I fully expect Rhyan to be competing for a full-time starting job next summer.

Bill from Olathe, KS

I work at a school in the KC area and never wear red on Chiefs Red Fridays. I always have a Packer shirt of some kind on that day. The last time we played the Chiefs when AR didn't play because of Covid, I was not sure of our chances. The defense played well but we still lost 17-10. Now since the game is at Lambeau I feel confident in this game since the Lions game and the Chiefs offense is struggling. How do we match up against a tough Chiefs defense to pull out a victory?

First, the final at Arrowhead in 2021 was 13-7. Second, I'm not sure how much the Chiefs are struggling on offense anymore after scoring four TDs in a span of five possessions, with every TD drive 70 yards or longer, against the Raiders on Sunday. As for Kansas City's defense, the Packers have to win up front, just as they did in Detroit. Limit penetration in the run game, and protect Love in the passing game. The Chiefs will frustrate you, and you just have to keep grinding away.

Jim from Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

We've all seen it, Travis Kelce running wide open in the secondary. I'm wondering what the Packers need to do to contain him?

Make tackles. He's going to make some plays down the seam. The Chiefs will scheme up those opportunities for him, and he's a nightmare matchup. But when he catches the short ones, make the tackle right away.

Mark from West Des Moines, IA

What is the key to a Packers victory against the Chiefs next weekend?

Withstand the surge, just like the Packers did in Detroit. When the Lions got going in the second half and were moving the ball rather swiftly, the Packers stood tall and got fourth-down stops. The Chiefs are going to get rolling at some point Sunday night at Lambeau. If it turns into another onslaught, as the Raiders experienced, forget about it. But if the Packers can force a couple of field goals, or rise up in a key moment to halt the surge, Green Bay has an offense ready to answer now.

Terrance from Sun Prairie, WI

What is the offense doing better now?

Staying balanced. Making contested catches. Controlling the line of scrimmage. Mostly just executing, especially on third downs.

Larry from Colorado Springs, CO

Regarding the Reed touchdown, the red flag is thrown – it looked like (to my mind's eye, which needs glasses) that Watson ran the wrong route, and dragged the second DB into the play. I suspect Love was as surprised as anybody about the size that window. Let's go to the films!

Love said after the game Watson was in the wrong spot.

Eric from Wausau, WI

So, Wes was gobsmacked by Love's pass to Jayden Reed. I believe the American for that is flabbergasted, but I was wondering if that is a hangover from last year's London visit, too much British "telly" or the Shakespeare Academy acting classes he takes for Three Things?

King Lear he is not. The Fool perhaps.

Take a look at photos from Friday's Winter Jubilee Warm Up event hosted at Titletown.

George from Kennebunkport, ME

I have seen multiple online articles about how the Packers missed the opportunity to try a "free kick" with 0:05 left in the first half. What is never mentioned is that if that kick had failed, the Lions could have had the ball at the GB 44 with 0:05 still on the clock. Like a kickoff, the clock does not start on a free kick until the "receiving" team touches it. A failed free kick, assuming the ball is not touched by Detroit, would have given the Lions a chance for points.

Which almost certainly is why LaFleur opted not to try it.

Andy from Walpole, MA

Watching at home it looked like Love could have gone a lot further on his running play, perhaps all the way for a touchdown (though we couldn't see what defenders what might have been downfield from him). Could he have been thinking the lead was safe and what the Pack really needed to do at that point was run down the clock? At that point the Pack were up by 15 with about five minutes left and the D did force the Lions to use almost all of the remaining clock to score their one final TD.

When I saw it live, I didn't think much of the slide. Upon seeing the replay, he definitely could've kept running a bit longer. The objective there was a field goal to make it a three-score game, but he slid before the Packers were in field-goal range. Maybe the detail escaped him, or he thought one of the angling defenders was about to dive at his legs so he wanted to avoid the risk and contact. In the end, the offense killed two more important minutes before giving the ball back to the Lions.

John from Grand Rapids, MI

Just a comment: We just drove to Florida and as we passed Lakewood Ranch, I thought of Kerry.

Meanwhile, Kerry was thinking about coin flips.

Kerry from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Not sure what the stats are in the NFL on the win percentage of teams who score first. But for a young team with a first-year starting QB it has to be an huge advantage to play with the lead. Do you think ML will continue to take the ball on winning coin flips?

We shall see. I think it could be opponent-dependent, as well as situational if he has a really big call planned for the opening series, like the first-play shot to Watson. I believe the thought process Thursday had a lot to do with how poorly the first half went against Detroit back in Week 4.

Jason from Lake Orion, MI

Defying conventional wisdom by taking the ball after winning the coin toss indicated to me Coach LaFleur was supremely confident in the game plan vs. Detroit. The deep throw to open the series served to reinforce this notion, followed by a complete game in all phases throughout the contest. Is it hyperbole to suggest this may have been his best coaching performance?

I don't know how to rank individual outings in that fashion. All I know is this was the first game in 2023 that felt like a "big win." The Packers' first one last year was vs. Dallas, and then they fell flat four days later, didn't get another significant win until Christmas in Miami, followed it up vs. the Vikings, and then fell flat again. So can they follow this one up? Really build on it moving forward? That's all that matters now.

Rick from Trempealeau, WI

Do you think ML will have any difficulties keeping the team from experiencing an emotional letdown/slowdown after beating Detroit? Beating the Lions and Chiefs in succession would really turn some heads. It's tough to hike up one mountain to find another waiting for you.

Handling success in this league will never cease to be a challenge. It's a taller task than most realize.

Nancy from Saginaw, MI

As Packer shareholders living in the midst of Lions fans (boy they've come out of the woodwork), that great win on Thursday will keep the boasters at bay. We've seen the Packers play in the Silverdome and Ford Field (Hail Mary game was one of them) and they were like home games for the green and gold. I've scanned the crowd on the TV broadcast and it sure seems like there weren't many visible Packer fans at Ford Field on Thanksgiving. What was your take on the number of Packer Backers?

That was the toughest road environment the Packers have dealt with all season, hands down. On the bus ride coming to the stadium, I counted all of two fans I saw outside dressed in Packers gear. Two. That's an all-time low in my 18 seasons of doing this. That Detroit crowd fully expected to win the game, and expected the Lions to rally in the second half. Handling that the way they did will serve the Packers well in Minneapolis in Week 17.

Bil from Stateline, NV

Is Preston Smith quietly having a great season, or what? He sets the edge and directs run plays inside. He pressures the QB. He drops into coverage. Maybe his stats aren't as flashy as some, but he's a complete player and I think his presence elevates the entire D-line.

He's as steady and reliable as they come, which should never be undersold.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

It looks like we're seeing some growth from the pains felt earlier in the season. What needs to happen to maintain progress?

Stay stout up front, continue to reduce penalties, and protect the football.

Joe from Hampshire, IL

Wes/Mike, did you get a chance to watch Ohio St.-Michigan? Unsurprisingly word is several NFL team scouts are there. Did Gutey go? Which guys in the trenches might be playing on Sundays next year? Obviously Gutey and Packer scouts are looking there.

Plenty of players on that field in Ann Arbor on Saturday will be playing in the NFL soon enough. Based on a tweet from a reporter who covered the game, the Packers had two seats in the press box for scouts. No idea who attended or which specific players they were scouting.

Rick from Collinsville, IL

Daily reader, first-time writer. We are planning to attend the last regular-season game against the Bears. Any idea when the exact date and time will be set? It says Jan. 7 TBD but I know last year there were a couple of Saturday games.

It may not be known until six or seven days in advance.

Bill from Clive, IA

Wes: "We have a long way to go and six games to get there." Wow, not only a Smokey and the Bandit movie quote, but a lyric from the main theme song, no less. Does Wes play the guitar and sing like Jerry Reed, too?

Don't encourage him.

Tom from New Berlin, WI

This may be too early, but which area do you feel Gutey will concentrate on during the draft?

Happy Monday.

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