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Inbox: He was the perfect guy at the perfect time in the perfect scheme

The Packers’ trio is rock solid

LB De'Vondre Campbell
LB De'Vondre Campbell

Dan from Augusta, KS

Anything less than seeing Wes and Spoff in bibs and a cutoff for Final Thoughts this week, outside in the bowl at Lambeau, will be nothing short of a disappointment.

When we're out in the bowl we have sponsors to answer to. Sorry, and uh, thank goodness.

Mike from Chamberlain, SD

How is AR's toe?

Sounds like it's in the final healing stages. Aaron Rodgers practiced on a Thursday for the first time since October, and he said last week he's anticipating the toe being at or very close to 100% by the time the divisional playoff rolls around.

Nathan from Manitowoc, WI

Without knowing the specific opposition till after the wild-card round, do the Packers do more self-scouting or scouting of multiple possible opponents?

They'll do some of both. There's always time dedicated to self-scout during a bye, but they will take a look at their four possible opponents, probably spending the most preliminary time on the one they're least familiar with.

Mike from Algoma, WI

As much as Washington desperately needs an actual name, how much more desperate is their stadium situation? It's amazing no one got hurt. What a dump!

Funny how we were just talking in the Inbox recently about how run-down that place is, and then that happens. Glad it wasn't worse.

Michael from Cassopolis, MI

Hi Mike, I love to watch old games and for me there are a few voices that could make a football game sound legendary. I recently watched the game of the week highlights of the '82 playoff game between the Packers and Dallas. Harry Kalas narrated and it was that classic old-school NFL sound. Are you familiar with him?

Absolutely. Kalas was more the voice of NFL Films for me than John Facenda, to be honest. Legends both, but I recall hearing Kalas as a narrator more often in my youth.

Jack from Moweaqua, IL

Please give some context as to what the signing of De'Vondre Campbell has meant to this team? He has been by far my favorite player to watch on defense. And how important is it to have him and Kenny Clark healthy in January and February with the cold and wind potentially forcing teams to run the ball more?

Campbell changed the look of this defense. That's the best way to put it. Amidst the transition to a new defensive coordinator at a position the Packers needed a major veteran upgrade, he was the perfect guy at the perfect time in the perfect scheme, or as close to it as you can get. There's an old baseball adage that asks how strong teams are defensively "up the middle," meaning catcher, second base, shortstop and center field. With run defense in football, up the middle is interior D-line, inside 'backer and strong safety. The Packers' trio of Clark, Campbell and Amos as the leaders is rock solid, and the best they've had in quite a while.

Kevin from Indianapolis, IN

There seems to be a fixation of late around the QB position and the MVP award. May I suggest an Outsiders Inbox question that allows readers to argue for past non-QBs that were most deserving (I'm looking at you Deion Sanders)?

I like that idea, so I posted it for Wes to possibly file away for the summer.

Jeff from Lake Forest, CA

Hey Mike, didn't want to ask this till we officially locked up the bye, so here it goes. What does practice look like on the off week? Is it a true bye week and the players are free to leave, or are they actually allowed to practice to some degree? I'm guessing there are CBA rules that regulate that?

If I recall correctly from the past two years, LaFleur will conduct a couple of practices late in the week, give the players the weekend off, and then get back at it Monday when they know their opponent. This year, they might still be waiting for the Monday night wild-card game (if it's an NFC contest) to know how it all shakes out, but I would think they'll still resume workouts.

Josh from Eagan, MN

A few weeks back I was going to come to the Inbox to complain about the seemingly eight-year streak of never stopping an opposing two-point attempt. Well, here's to a new eight-year streak of always stopping them, starting in Baltimore and continuing against the Browns!

Those wound up being two awfully important ones. Better to stop the ones that matter most than worry about the overall percentage.

Justin from Maple Grove, MN

Three straight seasons of 13 wins, what a ride it's been. I feel what happens this postseason will define Rodgers' legacy. Losing at Lambeau two years in a row would be more disappointing than the NFCCG in Seattle IMO. It's time to get it done in January.

That it is, but I'll leave the legacy stuff for when it's all said and done, which hopefully isn't for a while yet, no matter what the next month brings.

Richie from Aghada, Ireland

I always find it weird when fans (mostly of other teams) bemoan Aaron's NFCCG record of 1-4. I mean how many teams do they think get to the Super Bowl? I've never thought any less of Philip Rivers for not getting to a Super Bowl or for Drew Brees for only getting one ring, and I've never heard anyone mention any other position who never got one or more rings as being a lesser player. I get that Tom Brady has definitely changed how QBs are viewed but just seems like we can't just appreciate our MVP.

I think initially Joe Montana changed how QBs were judged. I know Terry Bradshaw won four rings first, but that Steelers dynasty was viewed differently than the 49ers dynasty as the game was beginning to evolve. Then after Montana, Brady only added to that framework for judgment. Michael Jordan did the same thing in basketball. That's the perspective of some. Doesn't mean it's the perspective of all.

Joel from Green Bay, WI

In the MVP, COY, and EOY discussions, one thing that isn't discussed enough is health of offensive lines. We've all seen how O-line injuries can derail an offense. The Packers' preferred O-line has missed 38 of a possible 80 starts this season. The Colts' preferred O-line has missed 18 starts. The Rams' top O-line has missed five starts. Tampa's best O-line has missed just one start. How differently do you think those other teams would have performed with the same O-line injuries?

I don't know but it's irrelevant. Every team deals with injuries at whatever positions. I hear what you're saying about offensive lines, but Vic used to say you're not really hurt unless your quarterback is hurt. In this day and age, there's a lot of truth to that.

Karen from Kaukauna, WI

Of all the players who we hope will be able to return in the playoffs, which of them plays a position that would need the longest time to get back to normal? My GUESS would be Bakhtiari; combined with him having the longest absence time (a year), but I'd like your thoughts.

I think that's accurate, because an additional factor is with an offensive lineman, you want him to be able to play the whole game, not be jumping in and out of the lineup. Defensive players can be worked in gradually through sub-packages, etc. Based on LaFleur's comments yesterday, it'll be interesting to see if the Packers can get Bakhtiari some snaps in Detroit, because this is the type of game you can experiment with part-time duty at that spot, not so much any games beyond.

Josh from Adams, WI

Am I just experiencing recency bias or is this one of the most competitive playoff fields we have seen in quite some time? There was a time when Arizona was unbeatable, Stafford was the MVP, and the Chiefs were a lost cause. Now everyone left is both flawed and dangerous and when the lights turn on everyone has a real chance at raising the trophy at the end. I, for one, am more excited for this postseason than any I can remember. I guess in football, as in life, parity promulgates pleasance.

Promulgates and pleasance make their Inbox debut in the same post. Bravo.

Shane from Philadelphia, PA

With AFC Chargers-Raiders playoff scenario of tie and both get in, if it came to it and both teams just agreed to take a knee every play and end in a 0-0 tie would the league think twice about making any more changes to the regular season. It seems 16 games and six playoff teams was perfect and now in Week 18 with seven playoff teams there are only three playoff spots up for grabs and even wild-card teams (like the Eagles) are looking at resting players.

The law of unintended consequences is undefeated.

Bob from Oconomowoc, WI

Morning II, are there any rookies on the team who you think deserve recognition on an NFL/NFC all-rookie list?

Eric Stokes should be in the running. With only two spots at corner on the PFWA's All-Rookie Team, it'll be a close call involving him, Pat Surtain II (Broncos), Nate Hobbs (Raiders) and Greg Newsome II (Browns).

Randy from Clarksville, TN

Hey guys, do you think Zac Taylor is the biggest threat to Matt LaFleur for Coach of the Year?

Wes and I discussed this on "Unscripted." I think Taylor, Mike Vrabel and Mike McCarthy are all legitimate candidates alongside LaFleur. As much as I'd like to see LaFleur get it and think he's plenty deserving, it's not the slam dunk the MVP vote should be, in my opinion.

Bill from Glen Allen, VA

Thank you for all the great information and insight shared by the "Insider Inbox" through the years. I've been watching the Packers for quite a few decades, and I honestly don't remember having a backfield tandem as much fun to watch as Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. Brockington/Lane was always fun to watch years ago, but our current duo is something else. Between their on-field and off-field actions, these two young men are fantastic athletes and all-around great guys.

Edgar Bennett and Dorsey Levens formed quite the duo, too, and I really appreciated getting to know Bennett while he coached here under McCarthy. I always thought Eddie Lacy and James Starks also qualified as "fun to watch" because their styles were so different, like Jones and Dillon. The current pair sports personalities that have just connected with the fan base in so many ways, which adds to the picture for sure.

Jesse from Rhinelander, WI

How would Sterling Sharpe's career numbers compare to Davante Adams' had he not gotten injured?

I'm not sure what you mean, but here are some numbers. Sharpe played seven seasons and retired at age 29 with almost 600 receptions, more than 8,000 yards and 65 TDs. Adams surpassed him this year, his eighth, in catches and TDs, and is almost there in yards, so they've had comparable careers to this point. With Favre around, it's conceivable Sharpe could have doubled his production by the time he was 35. Then again, Robert Brooks was coming into his own then, and it's hard to know how much Sharpe's sudden retirement played into Wolf's decision to spend a third-round draft pick on Antonio Freeman in '95. That said, I think it's a safe bet if Sharpe had played just two more years, he'd still be the franchise's all-time leader in receptions and yards.

Dale from Fenton, MI

What does parity have against the Lions?

Ouch. It's easy to forget they did make the playoffs three times in the last decade, even amidst all the low points. I agree with Wes, though, that Dan Campbell has things pointed in the right direction.

Jared from Rigby, ID

Guys, I love watching Gary highlights. I saw the one with him sacking Roethlisberger and it reminded me of a Berenstain Bears book my mom used to read me. How does Gary get home? "Down (the) hill, Through the woods, Between the rocks, Around the lake, Under the bridge, Over the wall, Up the tree..." Whatever it takes to get to the QB.

There was no book from my childhood with the pages, the cover, the spine, the corners, you name it, more worn out than "The Berenstain Bears' Picnic." Absolutely none. My parents probably still have portions of the text memorized.

Bill from Brooklyn Park, MN

When is the league expected to announce the date and time of the Packers' first playoff game? Will it be this weekend, or will they need to wait until the first round of playoff games are done?

We're all wondering the same thing. Having a Monday night wild-card game is uncharted territory, so I don't know how the league is proceeding with its scheduling, timing, etc.

Aaron from Phoenix, AZ

Definitely want to see 17 shatter 87's receiving yards record, and also see AR12 get over 4,000 again. But also, I'm really hoping to see a sack apiece from 52 and 91 to get both over 10. That duo has been fun to watch all season! What other possible season stat milestones are within striking distance vs. the Lions?

Shameless tease alert – I'm going to put together a brief list for my Saturday "One Last Look" column, which should post right after Wes's Inbox.

Gary from Ft. Leavenworth, KS

Aaron Rodgers MVP, Matt LaFleur COY, Brian Gutekunst MOY, LeRoy Butler HOF and a Super Bowl win. Is that too much to ask for?

Probably. But I think we all agree on priority No. 1.

Jacob from West Allis, WI

What has been your favorite Packer game so far this year?

I sincerely hope I haven't seen it yet.

Thomas from Cedar Rapids, WI

Discussing who would make for a better story in the NFC Championship is roughly akin to chortling in the Inbox. "Meaningless" or not, just beat the Lions or talk about the divisional game because so far, that's all we've earned. (There, fixed the karma for us. You're welcome.)

Happy Friday.