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Inbox: He's getting overlooked – again

Packers have to pounce when they have the chance

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Head Coach Matt LaFleur

Steve from Colorado Springs, CO

Celebrate what you've earned (a win in Detroit). Enjoy the present you've been given (Saints loss). Merry Christmas!

The day went the way you draw it up.

Dan from Toledo, OH

For Christmas, I want all the preseason "experts" who talked up the Vikings and Bears as division favorites while chanting "regression" in regards to Green Bay to say they were wrong. However, I will settle for a No. 1 seed.

Careful of the chortling there. I think I said several times in the offseason I didn't see any reason not to consider the Packers the favorite in the NFC North. The other rivals had a lot more questions than Green Bay did, and that's been borne out.

John from Livermore, CA

Who has the toughest remaining schedule in the NFC and why do you think that?

I think the Saints and Rams do. New Orleans has to face Kansas City and Minnesota while LA has Seattle and Arizona. But the Packers' and Seahawks' schedules are not cupcakes. Carolina could be getting McCaffrey back, we all know Tennessee is looming, and Chicago could be alive for a wild-card spot in Week 17. Seattle also has to play Washington, a team that keeps getting stronger. Lotta season left.

Jeff from Oceanside, CA

With the Pack leading the league in scoring, Aaron Rodgers's MVP-level performance and how all the preseason prognosticators who predicted a Packers slide this year have been proven wrong, I keep waiting for the national football pundits to start talking about Matt LaFleur for Coach of the Year. Why is there so little commentary acknowledging he's a worthy candidate?

Great question. I don't know, but he's getting overlooked – again.

Todd from Wauwatosa, WI

Did Darnell Savage's sack near the end of the first half remind you of LeRoy Butler sneaking behind Reggie and Santana, then bursting up the middle like it did with me? Here's hoping we see more of those in the coming weeks.

Good call. I'll keep saying this 'til I'm blue in the face – when blitzes work, they'll get called more often. You have to make them count.

Clyde from Iron Mountain, MI

Giving a team at least five first downs by way of penalty. The first game of the season, maybe, but in the 13th game!

The only thing more frustrating to watch than missed tackles is a flag-fest. It's just a constant struggle for this defense to string solid possessions together. The unit shows what it's capable of and then finds itself on its heels again. I'll say this: It underscores the importance of the Packers' offense capitalizing when the defense has its good moments, and both three-and-outs Sunday were followed by touchdowns. The Packers have to pounce when they have the chance, and they did.

John from Tulare, CA

Hey guys, how worried should we be about special teams? I find myself now standing in my living room during kickoffs and punts. Thanks for all you do, GPG!

The coverage units are making everyone worry. That's three enormous breakdowns in the last five games. I don't know how you fix it this late in the year, but the Packers have to find a way. Opponents are gearing up to exploit them, and I shudder to think about the possibility of a special-teams letdown at the wrong time next month.

Robert from Seattle, WA

I cringed when Rodgers threw long on second-and-9, late, instead of trying to put the game away by getting a first down. That led to the huge rush and him hurting his hip. Did ML apologize for calling that silly play and putting our porous defense back on the field during crunch time? This time of year you can't make those unforced errors.

LaFleur regretted not running the ball on third-and-9 there to make Mason Crosby's field goal easier.

Kaya from Hoback, WY

Take a bow, Mr. Crosby. Take a bow!

That was one clutch kick. I wish the TV had corrected that it was officially a 57-yarder, not 58, because I said in the live blog it tied the franchise record and found out much later it didn't. But wow, that was a gutsy call. I admit, and Wes will verify, I was saying punt the ball. With Stafford banged up and maybe not returning, I was fine making Chase Daniel and the Lions go 90 yards for the tie. The field-position risk was enormous there, but that's why I'm sitting here, and that's why Crosby is Crosby.

Will from Little Chute, WI

Can Mason teach JK Scott how to tackle?

I think he just did.

Chili from San Diego, CA

Watching UCLA vs. USC and see Graham Harrell is OC/WR coach and Amon Ra St. Brown just scored a TD. Funny what a small world football is at this level.

And the guy who quarterbacked the Badgers to their first Rose Bowl in three decades and was at one time the position coach for Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers just coached against the Packers as the head coach of a division rival. So, yeah.

Dan from Rice Lake, WI

Daughters and granddaughters everywhere will remember Sarah Fuller's historic PAT. You go girl!

PATs.

Jeff from Vandenberg AFB, CA

Mike, I was playing with another site's playoff simulator and it looks like if KC beats the Saints next week the Packers will clinch the No. 1 seed with wins over their two NFC opponents. I like those odds. Go Chiefs!

That may be true, but just (keep) win(ning), baby.

Patrick from Valrico, FL

What's your thoughts on Garrett getting nominated for Man of the Year? I know everyone deserves a mulligan now and then, but it seems a bit too soon to me and I wonder how that might impact the prestige of the award.

I was taken aback certainly, but each organization makes its own decision. I'm not privy to any team's process, but I just hope the primary motivation was not to rehabilitate a player's image.

Tony from Chanhassen, MN

Glad the Eagles waited a week to start Hurts.

Yeah, I think the Packers caught a break there with Philly coming off a Monday night game. It was too short a week to make the change.

Dan from Bridgman, MI

I was admittedly miffed when the Packers took Rashan Gary in the first round. Now, I'm really excited about him. He's on pace to triple his sack total from 2019 and I think he'll have a true breakout year in 2021 (while the Packers are hopefully defending a title). Based on what we're seeing this year, who is your too-early prediction for breakout player of 2021?

AJ Dillon, Kamal Martin, Jon Runyan and Vernon Scott from the 2020 draft class could all be legitimate candidates. Josiah Deguara too, health pending. But a lot will hinge on how the roster looks, too.

Ryan from Omro, WI

Any update on Gary? I didn't see him in second half and he's really starting to be a difference-maker. Also thought Vernon Scott played well with more playing time.

LaFleur didn't specify but said after the game Gary was dealing with something. I think Scott could be a sleeper for the defense down the stretch.

Tom from Palatine, IL

It was great to see Marquez Valdes-Scantling so involved in the game plan after being shut out for a couple games. This is the first time I recall him being more of a route runner and move-the-chains type of receiver as opposed to a stretch-the-field sort. Do you think this was a game plan decision or more of Rodgers just taking what he was being given? Great team victory and Detroit showed us a lot as always.

It felt to me the Lions changed something defensively to focus more on Davante Adams after the early 56-yard TD, and I think MVS benefited from that and was ready for those opportunities. The words after the game from the players were "strong hands" that he showed on the back-shoulder TD and the third-and-long comebacker. That looked new to me and a positive step.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

Was that back-shoulder TD the best catch of MVS' career? I generally thought such passes were reserved for the likes of Davante Adams or a Jordy Nelson. Rodgers continues to show belief in his guys and they reward him.

I'll still say the deep ball in Indy from the end zone late in the fourth was his best catch, but this one was a close second.

Estillac from Belem, Brazil

Lions' and Saints' onside kick attempts at the same time! How crazy was that?

The live blog readers were keeping me updated. It was really entertaining. To me, there was no drama on that Lions' attempt, though. I'm 99 and 44/100ths percent positive the ball has to go 10 yards in the field of play, and that ball clearly crossed the boundary before the 45. The midair yards along the white don't count. I think the whole deal whether or not the Detroit player had his feet in was much ado about nothing.

Jim from Wausau, WI

Watching the team this year, I noticed receivers are getting more space between them and defenders. Is that due to scheme this year or what other factor?

Rodgers has repeatedly been complimentary of the scheme for making his job easier. I think that says plenty.

Eric from Erie, PA

The biggest difference between this year's offense and last year's offense is Robert Tonyan. He's is finally the tight end the Packers have been searching for since Jermichael Finley. This guy has got to start getting some credit and is too underrated, just like I like it.

No argument on all counts.

Adam from Wausau, WI

Could you please explain the MVP voting procedures, especially how they end up with co-MVPs? What I am trying to say, let's say Mahomes gets two more votes than Rodgers. Do they talk about it and say well, Rodgers' votes were close enough let's make them both MVPs? Or do they just give it to the top vote-getter?

It goes to the guy who gets the most votes. The award is shared if two players tie for the most votes. That's it, that's all.

Gary from Cross Plains, WI

Good morning. I'm not sure I buy in on Mike's thoughts on age for MVP voting. In the case of an older player who's never won the award (so not Rodgers), but has had a number of good/great years, I think voters would give him a little boost thinking it's his last shot to win one, while that young player has more years to earn one. I think we've seen that in all the major sports over the years. I'd think it's more the tiebreaking factor, but I'm sure it's in some of the voter's heads.

I'll concede it could factor in as a mental tiebreaker for some voters if they really feel it's a toss-up which player had the better season. But if a voter feels it's clear-cut who deserves it based on performance, nothing else is considered.

The Green Bay Packers faced the Detroit Lions in a Week 14 matchup at Ford Field on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020.

Brandon from Imperial, MO

Good Morning, as Rodgers adds to his resume trying to become the sixth player to win three MVPs, do you think we'll ever see a player win three consecutive MVPs again like Brett Favre? Jim Brown and Joe Montana had back-to-back MVPs, Peyton Manning had back-to-back MVPs, twice, and Kurt Warner may have had three in a row if his own teammate hadn't taken one (Marshall Faulk). I just don't see anyone ever dominating like those players did again. Am I wrong?

I put nothing past Mahomes at this point, with him only 25. But as I noted in my postgame editorial, I think Rodgers is now the top candidate to win it this year.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

Good morning Mike/Wes. I have a perspective to offer on the importance of the first-round bye. Both wild-card rounds in '15 (at Washington) and '16 (N.Y. Giants) resulted in losses of our best WR at the time (Adams with the ankle and Nelson with the ribs). Both injuries greatly impacted our ability to win further playoff games. Just because we won the SB most recently from a wild-card position doesn't mean that's the best road to take.

Couldn't agree more.

Don from West Chester, PA

Not a question, just a comment. The folks in the media department did a masterful job with the Packers' dancing video collage! I've watched it nearly 10 times and get up and start moving with the players. The team looks to be having a lot of fun this year while taking care of business!

Everyone gets to celebrate for a day. Then it's back to the grind. It's how this works.

Marty from Plymouth, WI

Is anyone else seeing a pattern here? Offense gets a two-score lead in the fourth quarter, and defense can't keep the opponent from scoring. Then, special teams implode again, and we have to rely on Rodgers and company saving the day. This pattern could translate to a quick playoff exit. I hope I'm wrong?

Me too, though the defense did rise up at the end of the Philly game and allowed just the field goal after Detroit's long kickoff return. For all its inconsistency, it has produced some crunch-time stops.

Matthew from Sheboygan, WI

Almost exactly one year ago, Aaron Rodgers found his '19-20 late-stretch motto: "I'll take winning ugly all the way to the Super Bowl." Ironically, the script was flipped at the time: With our defense consistently showing out, Spoff wrote, "(Rodgers) remains confident the offense will find the more consistent level everyone's waiting for." Now that our offense has found its groove, can our defense still get its '19-20 late-stretch groove back?

If it can, the Packers will be an even tougher out in January. I think they'll be a tough out regardless, the way Rodgers and the offense are playing, but a timely sack or turnover here or there in the playoffs will go a long way.

Greg from Long Beach, CA

Good morning gentlemen. "Just don't act like you know it all – in football or in life." We could all use a little more humility. I love the community that is II. Thanks for all you do.

We try.

David from Sheridan, WY

Where to begin?

With a new week. Happy Monday.

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