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Inbox: He's been champing at the bit for some time

The Packers will need to bring their lunch pail for this game against Detroit

LB Rashan Gary

Roger from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning Wes! Does it seem weird doing the II on Saturday (actually most likely Friday night) starting off your weekend? Will you know what to do with a Sunday off? Or will your car automatically drop you off at Lambeau?

It feels like I'm eating a Twinkie without the cream filling.

H.R. from Las Vegas, NV

Well, it looks like Rashan Gary is going to get all the snaps now. Who do the Packers have to rotate in now that Z is on IR?

Gary is going to get the biggest slice of the pie. With Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith rarely coming off the field (typically playing around 80% of the time), Gary only played around a third of the defensive snaps over the past two years. Now, the 23-year-old is going to get everything he can handle. I think Gary's ready for it, too. He's been champing at the bit for some time. To your point, Preston Smith and Gary can't play every defensive snap. So, Chauncey Rivers, Jonathan Garvin and the incoming La'Darius Hamilton need to step up, too. It's a golden opportunity for all those guys.

Ron from Cherry Valley, IL

I love the job Matt LaFleur has done in his first two-plus years in Green Bay. I believe his biggest fault is abandoning the run too soon. AJ Dillon showed he had the hot hand early and we didn't keep coming back to him. I think you can still get back in the game pounding the ball when you are down 17 in the first half. What's wrong with having a long drive to try to get back in the game, rest the defense, and trust the defense to make a few stops later? One game at a time, the season is a marathon!

They did have a long drive, Ron. After halftime, the Packers drove 66 yards in 12 plays before Aaron Rodgers was picked off on second-and-7 from the Saints' 9-yard line. OK, enough looking in the mirror. We're on to Cincinnati, I mean, Detroit.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

To piggyback on Mike's statement that "the focus should be on winning the NFC North," a preseason strength of schedule had the Bears (3), Packers (4), Vikings (5) and Lions (T6). The North schedule is a meat grinder, win more than anyone in your division and you're in the playoffs. Get in the playoffs with Aaron at the controls and anything can happen. GPG

Every win gets you closer to the playoffs, but it's nearly impossible to reach that goal if you don't take care of business within your division. This is a big game Monday night against Detroit – not because of what happened in Jacksonville, but because it's the first of six pivotal NFC North games this season.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

The Packers have been the flagship team in the NFC North for so long now that it's understandable many of us expect a bounce-back game Monday Night. However, as a long-suffering division opponent we may see an incredible effort by the new-look Lions as they try to shut the door on our Packers for 2021. I think we'll see an extremely hard-fought game by both teams, and the Lions will be better this year than most people think. Winning won't be easy. Go Packers!

On the outside, it would appear the Lions are rebuilding under Dan Campbell but don't tell those players that. I think last week proved how hard that team will fight for its coach and each other. Monday won't be a cakewalk by any means. The Packers must be ready for a highly energized Lions team that came within 25 yards of an improbable comeback against San Francisco. The Packers are preparing for a physical, tough game.

Ross from Roswell, GA

How did the rookies on the O-line grade out last week?

It sounds like they graded out fine. As far as pass protection, the Packers hit most of their targets. The emphasis this week is getting the run game going.

Patrick from Coppell, TX

Good Morning Mike and Wes, is there any concern for or from Lucas Patrick? I can't find the exact count, but he has had several concussions at this point and the concussion he suffered last week looked like it came from a rather unremarkable hit from Carl Granderson.

Yeah, I know it didn't look great at the end but I'm not sure the concussion was suffered on a specific play. Players sometimes can be diagnosed after a game or even the following day. Patrick remains in the concussion protocol. If he's unable to play Monday, the Packers could slide Jon Runyan or Jake Hanson in at left guard. Or, if they want to get trickier, you could put Dennis Kelly in at right tackle and bump Billy Turner inside.

Nick from Plainwell, MI

Going 0-2 to start the season with a division loss will happen for one team Monday night. I think the Swift/Williams backfield Detroit has should be the focal point to stopping. Do you expect any changes along our D-line come Monday?

Jared Goff seems to have found his comfort zone with D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. He targeted them 20 times against the 49ers. All told, Swift and Williams touched the ball 36 times for 214 total yards and two touchdowns. I know a few of you got perturbed with my answer about the D-line, but Reggie White and Gilbert Brown aren't walking through that door. The Packers need to win with the men in that room – and they all need to bring their lunch pail for this one.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

I get a vibe that this Lions team will be a team that basically plays with a nothing-to-lose mentality. They gave the 49ers everything they had to crawl back in that game. I understand no one is really envisioning Detroit as a playoff team, but I don't think they will be some walk in the park come Monday night. Get back to basics and beat the guy in front of you.

And run the football.

Matt from Fort Worth, TX

What is the biggest matchup to watch versus the Lions?

The Packers' pass rush versus the Lions' offensive line. While stopping Williams and Swift is high on the priority list, Green Bay can't let Goff get comfortable in the pocket. Frank Ragnow is a stud, and like Elgton Jenkins stepping in for David Bakhtiari, Penei Sewell has done a fine job in place of Taylor Decker at left tackle for Detroit. The result last week doesn't change the fact the Packers still must win in the trenches to prevail.

Austin from Appleton, WI

I was surprised by Spoff's response to Austin from Woodstock. What say you Hod? I say let Williams rack up some respectable numbers to establish himself as a No. 1 as long as the Packers win. This game is also about players and he was always a joy to watch in the green and gold.

I hope Jamaal Williams enjoys his return to Lambeau, maybe gets to toss the football around with fans during pregame warmups and returns home to Detroit safe and healthy. That's about it. Williams can make up for any lost production with 200 total yards and four TDs two weeks from now against Chicago.

Gully from Maple, WI

One thing the Packers did not learn in the preseason was how to win. I understand the NFL has evolved from Lombardi's days when establishing a winning attitude even in the preseason was the most important thing. Despite the expense of exposing first-team players to injury, is there still value for a team to experience winning in preparation for the regular season?


Cameron from Lees Summit, MO

Insiders, what do you think of the Cowboys having to start the first two games on the road? In a season that is already full of adversity, wouldn't it be nice if the NFL gave every team a home game in the first two weeks? Not just for the team, but for the fans. There's a possibility that the first home game for the Cowboys they will be 0-2 and it's already a downer for the fans. Granted with the extra week and team in the playoffs now, maybe 0-2 isn't such a death sentence it has been in the past.

The Packers had to do it in 2016 and the last I checked no songs were written for them that year. But I do agree, a Sept. 27 home opener for Dallas doesn't feel right.

John from Aesch, Switzerland

"Unfortunately, that also applies to things that matter way more than sports." – Mike Spofford

"Say it ain't so Joe." – Charley Owens

"Football is the most important of the less important things in the world." – Carlo Ancelotti

Thanks for keeping it real, Mike.

Spoff was very eloquent in his reply to Julian's observation and question on Friday. I could give a dozen different personal examples that back up Spoff's words but I'll put it like this – it saddens me how things have changed since I broke into this business in 2006. That's not journalists' fault, either. In my opinion, it's social media and the burden placed on reporters to deliver information as fast as possible.

The Green Bay Packers practiced on Clarke Hinkle Field on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.

Eric from Mequon, WI

I love reading about people like Joe that are instrumental to the organization but we don't hear about. Would you guys ever consider a weekly spot where you spotlight someone in the organization we never knew was there but is hard at work keeping this organization great?

It's a fantastic idea. Joe was a great pick by Mike. I'll use my first kudos on Sue Zernicke, who is our senior ticket office coordinator. Sue is a wonderful person and one of the best in our entire building at what she does. No matter how complicated I make her life with various ticket requests or changes, she always comes through for me with a smile on her face. I love Sue. She's one of my favorite coworkers.

Michael from Cashton, WI

Thanks, Mike and Wes, for helping us all cultivate perspective and understanding. Tuesday our regional paper had a story headlined "Should the Packers Press the Panic Button and Start Unloading Aaron Rodgers and Other Key Players?" Seriously people! I didn't fall for the click-bait, but it was tempting. Thank you II! and keep up the great work.

Goodness…that headline appeared in an actual newspaper? Here's a grip, fam. You appear to be missing yours.

Jason from Austin, TX

IIs, you want replay of RTP penalties? Have we learned nothing from a couple seasons ago when the league allowed review of PI, but actually changed nothing? All that did was make fans more frustrated. I, 100%, agree that reviewing some penalties would help the game, but let's get the league to agree on how to review "easy" reviewable plays first. You don't have to look further than Thursday night on the second-down run when McKissic was "touched" before making the first down.

Well, Al Riveron retired so maybe now there's hope.

Tim from Green Bay, WI

You can only have one, hot dog or brat, which do you choose?

Tim, what the heck kind of question is that? Brat, all day.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Do you think the Lions will be able to adapt to the outdoors? Or will this be a big Packers' advantage? Asking for people from Jacksonville.

That is very thoughtful of you, Dar.

Bob from Leiden, Netherlands

I'm just hoping that by Monday, the Packers are all out of bubblegum.

Me, too, Bob. Me, too. I wish you all a pleasant weekend and I'll see you on Monday morning.


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