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Inbox: He's the definition of a franchise left tackle

There’s only one way to find out if a young player has what it takes 


Matt from Pocatello, ID

I have excited news for all of us Inboxers. Being a student, I have access to computers that have no browsing history every time you log in and follyrot's first three Google listings are still from the Inbox. The legend continues.

Every revolution starts small. Good morning!

Kris from Kronenwetter, WI

Can this be the start of the "David Bakhtiari is the best left tackle in football and deserves a first-team All-Pro selection" campaign? Watching him stonewall the opposing team's best pass rusher every Sunday is a thing of beauty.

I have a ton of respect for Andrew Whitworth, who's still doing it at an incredibly high level at 36. However, I think Bakhtiari sets the standard for NFL left tackles right now. He's at the peak of his powers at 27 and has one of the most important jobs in all of football in blocking Aaron Rodgers' blind side. And he's been pitching shutouts for the last month despite Rodgers' reduced mobility. Without much fanfare, Bakhtiari consistently has shown his athleticism as a run blocker at the second level this year. He's the definition of a franchise left tackle.

Jim from Eau Claire, WI

With our current injury situation at receiver, which of our rookie wideouts do you see having the biggest impact on Sunday?

Marquez Valdes-Scantling is the surest bet because he already played 54 offensive snaps in place of Randall Cobb last week. Having a 38-yard catch down the sideline in single coverage isn't a bad feather to have in your cap, either. With 4.37 speed, Valdes-Scantling is a home-run threat the Lions' secondary must account for.

Paul from Ellensburg, WI

Hey fellas, we're certainly better with Cobb on the field, no question. Still I can't help but feel excited for what MVS and the others could bring to the game. The question is, are they ready for it?

There's only one way to find out if a young player has what it takes. Cobb, Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison all passed that litmus test on their way to establishing roles in this offense. If any or all of the three rookies get called upon Sunday, they have to make the most of it.

Roger from Marathon, FL

Ready to play shutdown defense again?

That's the goal every week for Mike Pettine's crew regardless of who's available on the other side of the ball.

Daniel from Delta, PA

Speaking of stats, I'm almost certain I read an article a couple years back about how the Lions have never had back-to-back seasons with 10-plus wins. Have you ever heard this or know if it was/is true?

The crazy thing is it's true. All of it.

Eric from Kenosha, WI

I just caught up on the week of Inbox and I have a comment about Wes's thought Inbox would have been OK with the Rodgers pick. Many of us were not OK. We were apoplectic, with our delusions of Favre playing forever despite his hem-hawing. You guys would have had a rough few weeks talking fans off the proverbial ledge. Anyway, I've never been happier to look back on something I was dead wrong about. I kind of wish we had a 2005 Inbox to look back at now for chuckles.

Could you imagine what the summer of Favre would have been like? We might have taken permanent vacation.

Brad from Marion, IA

Patricia from Portland said she "loves stats." This got me thinking of one of the most misleading stats, YAC. How long before we give YAC to the wide receiver as yardage gained and not give it to the QB? These sideline throws that a WR breaks for a long touchdown are very misleading as QB passing yards. I say give credit where credit is due!

I think it's perfectly fine to attribute yards after catch to receivers because they're doing the heavy lifting. However, I do think some credit goes to the quarterback finding his receiver in space and giving him the opportunity to make a play. It takes two to tango on every completion.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

I apologize in advance knowing this topic has been beaten to death, but did you see the hit on Luck by two Pats defenders who both landed full weight on him for a sack during the Colts' first possession? How is that not a flag? And why does it seem to always cost the Packers a win (Fail Mary/Matthews RTP) before the adjustments are made? Maddening!

It's not a flag because it wasn't a penalty – just like how Matthews' sack of Kirk Cousins wasn't a penalty. This isn't hard.

Greg from Downers Grove, IL

If the old adage "take what they give you" holds true, Sunday's game should be fun to watch as our RB trio should put up some solid numbers. Would love to see Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers orchestrate a game plan around multiple TE sets and let the ground game take command. When was the last time the Pack has gained 175 or 200 yards rushing?

The Packers put up 226 rushing yards at Soldier Field in December 2016, with Ty Montgomery (162 rushing yards, 10.1 yards per carry) and Christine Michael (45 yards, 11.3 ypc) having big days. On paper, this seems like the perfect time to bust out those two- and three-tight-end sets. We'll see what Mike McCarthy and Co. dial up Sunday.

Shawn from Kissimmee, FL

I really hope that Jaire Alexander is healthy enough to play and does go up against Golden Tate. Both guys are big personalities with lots of confidence, some would call it hubristic. It would be great if Jaire can shut him down and get in his head.

Alexander is questionable to play through that groin injury, but I hope we see that matchup happen in the middle of the field. They're both big personalities and Alexander backs down from no man.

Jordan from Goose Creek, SC

Now we have a Mount Rushmore of stats! Points per drive (scoring efficiency), average starting field position, (turnovers/yardage), number of plays ratio (sustaining drives/controlling TOP), QB rating (QB play is the most important position).

But what about QB wins?

Jason from New Hampton, IA

I think it's important to remember to not let the highs get too high, and the lows get too low. I believe the team knows that well. Fans need to remember this as well. Kyler Fackrell is a great example. At the beginning of the season, who saw him leading the team in sacks at this point? Not many. Career tracks aren't linear. That said, his hot start may not continue at the same pace. It doesn't mean anyone should panic or question his effort.

That's why you heard so many teammates say Fackrell has gotten a bad rap with the fans and the media over his two-plus seasons in Green Bay. To Fackrell's credit, he didn't bask in his own success, either. He said he won't be happy if he finishes the season with three sacks. Sunday was a good step forward, but there are 12 more games to go.

View photos of Packers fans representing their colors for Green & Gold Friday.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

In nine seasons, Matt Stafford has never won a playoff game, been a Pro Bowl alternate twice and had his last two playoff appearances result in a passer rating under 90, which by the modern standards those games were played under is underwhelming. What is your take on why the general perception of Stafford is so much more positive than Jay Cutler or other QBs who have produced stats but not results?

His play style. Stafford has had his share of ups and downs throughout his career, but he's an elite, top-10 NFL quarterback in my eyes. Like Rodgers, he can dictate tempo and make adjustments at the line of scrimmage. He's also been remarkably durable after missing 19 games his first two seasons.

Scott from De Pere, WI

Mike, not a question, just a comment. You responded to someone who was calling into question your integrity. I have been reading your work on for a while and have never gotten that sense. I think you are very honest with your opinions but you can be critical while not throwing someone under the bus. On numerous times have you brought up that the Packers need more pass rush. Don't bite the hand that feeds you, because people wouldn't do that to their employer, if they value a job.

Exactly. Spoff said it better than I ever could on that one. You're right. There's a way to be critical without having to be sensational about it. I've worked at the Packers for nearly 30 months now. I have yet to put my name on a story at that I didn't believe in its contents.

Michael from Santa Cruz, CA

Excellent response to the guy from NE questioning your integrity Spoff. Some fans reflexively revert to the "unobjective paid team hack" narrative when you have a differing opinion from them. Somehow having a different opinion is now "disrespect" or "inauthentic." Give me a break. Honestly, Jones is a thoroughbred and Williams is a plow horse, so I also fall in the camp of wanting more touches for the thoroughbred and less for the plow horse. But keep doing what you do, you do it well.

That part of the "question" is what riled me up. We're not objective because we're not calling for the Packers to feature one particular runner when the entire group has been producing? Plus, look around the league, Dale. Open your eyes. There are like five or six teams featuring one back.

Mike from Novato, CA

Not a question, just a suggestion for Justin; best time to see a Packer game is sometime in mid-October, especially if you're doing more than just flying in for the game and then flying out. We went to the Rams game a couple years ago, spent the first few days in Lac du Flambeau, then a quick trip along Lake Superior, and then the last couple days in Green Bay. The colors of the fall, the crispness of the weather, the drive into GB from the west, and then of course the time in Green Bay.

It's hard to beat northeastern Wisconsin in October. I hope anyone coming to the 49ers game gets a chance to enjoy the weekend up here. I've said before Week 16 games around Christmas are my favorite, but October games at Lambeau Field are a close second with the crispness in the air.

Doug from Eugene, OR

Since the average life expectancy of an NFL running back is about three years, could we be looking at the new formula for longevity in the run game – lighten the load? I feel we give the opposition a great deal more to think about than a feature back with a single set of skills. I don't know how many human beings are built for longevity running 20 or more carries in today's NFL. As for your personal critics and questioners in addressing this issue...a bunch of amateurs, dude.

Sometimes less is more. Most of the NFL figured that out years ago. I wish some fans would catch up. I get it, though. This is a very complicated case. You know, a lotta ins and outs. A lotta what-have-yous.

Alex from Minneapolis, MN

I, for one, am on your side when it comes to using Jones. I seem to remember James Starks being an integral part of the Super Bowl run not in September, but in the back half of the season. Has anyone complaining about this watched a Patriots game? If not, they should be assigned that for homework. They're the case study for how to utilize multiple talented backs.

Starks was a great example of a running back best used in moderation who contributed to a lot of Packers victories over his seven NFL seasons. And you're right, the Patriots have been very effective with using multiple running backs over the past seven or eight years.

Jeff from Andover, MN

Spoff, I love your answer to the guy questioning your integrity. I get exhausted and frustrated when surrounded by negativity and cynicism. I give you and Wes kudos for exposing questions from differing perspectives even though they don't align with your beliefs. Could you estimate the percent of questions that are pessimistic/realistic/optimistic? How does this vary with a Packer win vs. loss? Love your work, go Packers! Go Brew Crew!

It's generally more pessimistic than optimistic on a given day, especially after a loss. However, the glass-half-full folks are the ones who make opening my email worth it.

Kevin from Louisville, KY

This is actually for Dale from Valentine, NE: It must be nice to always think you know better, to always think you're the smartest person in the room.

No, it's awful.

Travis from Oshawa, Canada

Can we ban questioners who question Mike and Wes's integrity? Bugs me for three reasons. 1) It's obvious as team employees that they won't be harshly critical of the team. 2) It doesn't take an English major to infer that when one of them says player or unit X needs to get better, that X isn't doing enough. 3) Neither of them are Pollyannas going on and on about the greatness of the Pack or predicting 16-0 seasons every year with a Super Bowl at the end of the rainbow.

Nuance is a powerful thing.

Brian from Montclair, NJ

On July 14, you took a question from Tucker from Temple, TX. So I guess you could say your Inbox has been "tuckered" once before.


Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

I lost my dad this week, at 91, a life well-lived. He always talked about his dad taking him to Milwaukee games and the Packers versus College All-Stars game in Chicago in the 1940s and saw Hutson play in person many times. I took him to Lions-Packers in 2007 where Favre set the Packer completions-in-a-row record for an easy win. He relished hearing how I took my son to the Hail Mary game here in Detroit. What a bond sports can be.

My sympathies for your loss, but what wonderful memories you have to cherish. Hopefully, your son will carry that on with his own child someday.

Zacariah from Red Wing, MN

I hear people at work complain about fantasy points even when we win the game and I can't understand it. I don't play fantasy football because I don't wanna root for any opposing player. I just want a W. I also want fans to yell "Ha Ha" after Clinton-Dix gets an interception.

One of my vivid childhood memories is my father and me getting into an argument because the Packers scored and I was mad because I was playing Donald Driver that week. My father, who'd never played fantasy football, was follyrot.