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Inbox: He's got a nose for the ball

The logic, such as it is, is full of holes


Tyler from Stevens Point, WI

I changed my furnace filter in November and dusted the top of the fridge yesterday. Thought it was worth sharing.

I don't know where to go from here.

Robert from Harris, MN

Wes answered a questioner by saying the Packers winning the Super Bowl was a big if with 13 other teams vying for it. While technically correct, in reality it is down to seven other teams before the Pack even gets to vie. Making it a much smaller if. You gotta love the bye.

And I love the verb "vie."

Simon from Leeds, England

I feel like another reason the Pack has been so good and so focused since the Indy loss is that they really get how big the No. 1 seed is and the SB going through Lambeau. Let's not forget how close they were to it last year and how it could have been so different. This feels like it's their time now, Covid permitting!

Rodgers went to the podium four years ago after the loss in Atlanta talking about how important it would be to get an NFC title game at home. Aaron Rodgers never wavered in that stance, including last year, obviously. There's one game to win for that opportunity to arrive.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

Actually the crucial upset was not the Eagles over the Saints but the Giants over the Seahawks a week earlier. The Packers had the head-to-head advantage over the Saints.

That Seahawks loss was a shocker, especially with the Giants starting a backup QB, and it proved huge. The Philly upset just gave the Packers control a week earlier than we thought. All eyes were on the Saints' matchup with the Chiefs the next week, but it didn't matter as much.

Scott from Noblesville, IN

To add some more curiosity to ML's phenomenal first two seasons of success, how does 11-1 inside the division AND 12-4 on the road rank him in the record books?

I don't have that list in front of me, but I remember McCarthy getting off to a great start in both of those categories and it laid a solid foundation for years to come. For comparison's sake, he was 9-3 in the division and 11-5 on the road his first two years.

John from Cedarville, MI

Congratulations to the five Packers to make PFF's first-team All-Pro: Rodgers, Davante Adams, Corey Linsley, Jaire Alexander, and Adrian Amos. I was most thrilled but surprised by Adrian's selection. He never seems to get talked about as much as the other four but always shows up when needed most. What are the elements of his game that saw him recognized for this season-long honor?

I'm not as familiar with PFF as others, but being assignment-sure and executing that assignment with a high rate of success goes a long way. In other words, no matter where the ball went, did he win the play?

James from Asheville, NC

In his first game as a Packer, "Snacks" Damon Harrison may have only played a dozen or so reps but I counted nine downs where he and Krys Barnes were on the field together and in seven of those nine Krys made a significant play. This was also a very solid game from Christian Kirksey. How much does the presence of an additional run stopper free up the linebackers to wait back and see how the play unfolds, rather than having to possibly commit to a run too soon?

It's partly that, but it's also the guys up front occupying blockers so when the linebackers diagnose the play, they have freedom to react and get to the ball rather than fighting off an opponent. I love watching Krys Barnes. He's got a nose for the ball.

Chris from Cedar Rapids, IA

Happy to see Big Dame "Snacks" Harrison on our roster. My freshmen year at THE William Penn University, Snacks was a senior and I had the privilege of being in the D-line room with him for one semester. He was called "Big Dame" back then. I can remember him lining up as a three technique in games and literally pulling the offensive tackle into his body so our defensive end could run free. Love it when small-school guys make it into the NFL. I've enjoyed watching his journey so far.

I have no comment. I just really liked this post.

Corbin from Eau Claire, WI

Thirteen receivers drafted in the first two rounds. Three of those teams made the playoffs.

This one, too.

Greg from Downers Grove, IL

II, don't you think the criticism of Pederson is a bit rough? If our Pack was in the situation, I would want the Packers to choose the sixth overall pick too. If teams want to make the playoffs, win baby, win.

If I'm the Giants' coach, I'm not standing up there Monday talking about disrespecting the game. I'm standing up there saying my team should have won more games. Period. This was not some double-digit win team losing a playoff spot on a technicality or convoluted tiebreaker. The outrage here is sorely misplaced in my opinion.

Mike from Carolina Beach, NC

With three wild-card teams now, it just feels like it's time for one of them to (possibly) have a home game. A simple solution...don't allow a division winner with a losing record to host a playoff game. What are your thoughts?

The owners have always insisted on division winners getting to host. Extra team or not, if they were going to change it, they'd have done so long ago.

Scott from De Pere, WI

I know this is extremely early, but since there is a little down time, put a reminder to do a prospect primer on a QB or WR from Indiana State. Seems like they might fit right in!

Duly noted.

Gary from Davenport, IA

Do you think it's safe to say that last Sunday's game was the first time in NFL history where two different Indiana State alumni caught TD passes?

They are two of just 12 ISU alums to ever play in the NFL, according to Pro Football Reference, and only three of the others played an offensive skill position, all for one year each (1926, '71, '94). So, yeah.

Ian from Kirkwhelpington, England

Mike, given that Mason Crosby played all 16 games, is his 16 field-goal attempts in a season a record low either for the franchise or even the whole league?

I don't know about the league, but it's the fewest in Crosby's career and the fewest by the Packers in a full season since having 17 attempts in 1975 (a 14-game slate). You have to go all the way back to 1956, when there were just eight tries, to find a year with fewer than 16.

Patrick from Gulf Breeze, FL

I don't like living in the past, but regarding the Patterson opening play: From the rear camera angle, you can see clearly that his hand touched the ball prior to his foot hitting the ground, and when his foot does touch the ground, it's in bounds. So that's why I was astonished the play was upheld. No use crying over spilt penalties considering we won anyway.

I was with LaFleur, I thought the ball should have been spotted at the 1-yard line. If that had been the call on the field, replay wouldn't have reversed it. One of those things. I think the official on the field understood what Patterson was trying to do but didn't actually make sure he executed it properly and just cut him some slack.

Douglas from Bloomington, IL

Watching the game with some Bears fans, we all agreed that Cordarrelle probably touched the ball before going out of bounds and that Kmet probably was down before the fumble, but each was too close to overturn. Do you agree with the replay rules that the video evidence has to be overwhelming to overturn the call on the field, or that the ruling should be made based on the replay regardless of what was called on the field?

The latter. With the technology available today, I've said before I think the call on the field getting priority is an outdated notion. Particularly so on a play like Alexander's, where officials are inclined to let turnovers play out because they're automatically reviewed. But by letting them play out, they're giving weight to the play being a turnover based on the language of the replay rule. The logic, such as it is, is full of holes.

Greg from Downers Grove, IL

Slow down II junkies, please. I see that many want a rematch with Tampa. We did not match up well with them earlier and we still don't. Let's root to play who we think is the best matchup for the Packers to win. In my opinion it's the Bears. Which team is the best matchup for the Packers?

I think that's the first time our readership has been referred to as junkies, but I kinda like it. There's no question the Bucs are the toughest matchup for the Packers. I don't think it's close. Let's see what happens.

Thomas from Avon Park, FL

A couple of unflagged plays from the Bear game still bother me. Hicks' blatant blow to Patrick's helmet at the end of the first quarter and a helmet-to-helmet hit delivered by Woods on Marcedes Lewis at the midpoint of the second quarter (I could hear the crack of the helmets on my TV). I know the refs won't catch all the potential penalties but these should have been called. Does the NFL review film postgame and assess fines for calls not made during the game?

All the time.

Mike from Novato, CA

Regarding Marquez Valdes-Scantling's drop, it sticks in my craw as well, but the fact that he was wide open on the play is going to be noticed by all defensive coordinators in our remaining games. It's not often a player can be as open on one such play in a game, much less two. I suspect that opponents are going to try to cheat a bit of help towards him, and risk getting cut by shorter completions to Adams and Robert Tonyan, if it means not getting gashed by huge gains. This can also open up the run game even more. Thoughts?

Obviously, the Packers would prefer he catch the ball more consistently. But you've just described why he's on the field as much as he is despite the inconsistencies.

Ross from Roswell, GA

Gents, Coach LaFleur is giving the team and staff the day off on Tuesday. Do they still need to come to the facility for Covid testing?

Yes. A day off does not mean a day off from testing.

Ron from Bellaire, MI

Good evening, Mike. In beating a dead horse, MVS's drop, it appeared that Rodgers may have lost his focus for a bit as he threw at least two (possibly three) near interceptions following the drop. That is totally unlike 12. What is your take?

I hadn't thought of it in those terms, but I won't dismiss the possibility of it being a factor. He's human, too.

Bruce from Augusta, WI

If players receive more money for postseason games, how does that figure for teams with a bye?

The players got this changed. Previously, they were only paid for postseason games they played. Now, the teams that get a bye are paid for advancing.

Chili from Muskego, WI

Wes – Unscripted, indeed. Nice job taking the reins and holding true to the team's "next man up" mentality. And this McCarren guy we activated off the practice squad seems like he's got some salt in his coffee. I like him. Not so easy to remember the sponsor business, though, is it? I'll go ahead and fill up on Campbell's Chunky Soup (see myself out).

Nicely done. I think that was the first "Unscripted" I've ever missed. Big props to Larry for filling in. I'll be back for Thursday's episode, unless the Rock puts up a fight. That's not one I can win.

Dennis from Beavercreek, OH

After reading the comment from Kirsten from Madison, I did a little research on TOP and win percentage. Actually there is no correlation between TOP and winning. There is little correlation with winning TOP and having a better defense. Remember winning TOP limits your chances to score and create opportunities to score. Scoring points is what you need to win. The top nine teams in scoring points this year are in the playoffs.

Like most things in the NFL, I think the value of TOP is dependent on the particular matchup/opponent. Its value fluctuates based on the strengths and weaknesses of the other team.

Mike from Lompoc, CA

Good morning! Can you tell me which players on the Packers roster already have a Super Bowl ring?

Aaron Rodgers and Mason Crosby. That's it, that's all.

Andrea from Altidona, Italy

I really like our team's chances going into the playoffs. We have the NFL MVP under center, the best receiver in the game on the perimeter, a really good running game with so many different weapons, a top-tier offensive line and a defense on the rise. I think this is our second-best squad in the post-Super Bowl XLV era after the '14 team. Your thoughts?

I agree wholeheartedly.

Markus from Aurora, CO

Insiders Wes and Mike (or Mike and Wes), do you have any great plans for the wild-card bye week?

Watching a lot of football on Saturday and Sunday, and then posting a story early Sunday evening on the Packers' opponent as soon as it's known. But I still have three work days left this week. Happy Wednesday.