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Inbox: He was the picture that came to mind

It’s on the coaching staff as a whole to find a way

Bears LB Dick Butkus
Bears LB Dick Butkus

Ryan from Centre Hall, PA

Insider Inbox: Always keeping it spicy with nuggets like a "Bull Durham" to "Mandy from Durham, NC" transition.

That Wes is a sneaky one.

Chris from Gridley, CA

As a minority owner I would like to send our organization's condolences to the Butkus family and the Chicago Bears organization regarding the passing of the legendary Dick Butkus. Football is all the greater because of the legends that have come before and few images embody the toughness and grittiness of Chicago than that of Butkus lined up ready to hit someone.

The game has lost a legend. When I was growing up, learning about NFL football and watching old highlights, I'd hear the phrase "Monsters of the Midway." He was the picture that came to mind, even though I never actually saw Butkus play. Condolences to Luke here and his entire family. Godspeed to one of the greatest ever.

Hansen from Waukesha, WI

Insiders, do you think there will be a lot of green and gold at Allegiant Stadium Monday night? I imagine there are quite a few Packers fans in the Las Vegas area, as well as the rest of the southwestern United States, who have been waiting for the team to come to their neck of the woods.

I can also see Packers fans from just about anywhere using the Vegas game as a destination trip. I suspect the team will be well-supported Monday night.

Jeremy from Wausau, WI

Do you think that Davante Adams has Monday night's game circled on his calendar?

I'm sure he'll be up for the game, but I don't get the impression it's some kind of revenge outing, if that's what you're asking. He decided he wanted to change course in his career, and the Packers accommodated. He's a formidable opponent who's going to do his thing Monday night, and the Packers can't let him take over, because he has the talent and wherewithal to do so.

Jeff from Omaha, NE

NFL halftimes are only 12-13 minutes long, which is not a lot of time for coaches to talk with players, explain adjustments, relay game plan modifications, etc. … Can you explain what actually happens during halftime once the team hits the locker room? Do they meet en masse in the locker room, meet in an auditorium to check out quick video cut-ups, break out to position rooms with their position coaches, have designated offense or defense areas? How is that time spent?

I've only been in an NFL locker room at halftime on a couple of occasions. Generally, players gather informally at their lockers with their position group and position coach to go over some things, and the respective coordinators/play-callers might talk about some issues with the larger group gathered around. But you're right, it's quick, and players often are grabbing fruit or a protein bar to refuel.

Bill from Brooklyn Park, MN

When the Packers first stopped playing in Milwaukee and created the Gold ticket package, it was the third and sixth games. (2 to Green, 1 to Gold, 2 to Green, 1 to Gold, 2 to Green.) They changed it shortly after that, reportedly because of complaints from Gold ticket holders that for several years straight, one of their two games was Thanksgiving weekend.

Didn't know that. Thanks for sharing the knowledge. As I mentioned in my mid-week chat, I do know Bob Harlan for a time would put in a schedule request with the league that the Gold package second and fifth home games not be at night. But I don't know if the league even accepts such requests anymore.

Connor from Grand Rapids, MI

There is talk about Caleb Williams playing another year of college to avoid playing for a horrible NFL team (Da Bears). I feel like it's happened before but am unsure. What is the history of QBs not playing or refusing to play for the team that drafted them?

John Elway and Eli Manning prominently come to mind, and it worked out for them. It's been a while, though.

Jim from West Hills, CA

A quick note on the lowest score question – I believe Dallas beat Detroit 5-0 in a playoff game in '71 or '72?

In the 1970 NFC Divisional playoff, the Cowboys did indeed beat the Lions 5-0 at the Cotton Bowl. Winning QB Craig Morton was 4-of-18 for 38 yards and an interception for a 16.4 passer rating, but the Cowboys pounded out 209 rushing yards on 50(!) carries. One of the defenders in on the sack of Lions QB Greg Landry for a safety was Jethro Pugh, whom Jerry Kramer blocked on the Ice Bowl sneak. The really crazy thing is two weeks before that playoff matchup, the Cowboys won at Cleveland by a score of 6-2, and the game in between they beat the Oilers 52-10. Go figure.

Casey from Kansas City, MO

With all the talk about run defense I think it's fair to point out some history. A Joe Barry-led defense has never finished better than 23rd in yards/attempt and that was actually his first year with the Lions. Since, his defenses have finished 32nd, 31st, 26th, 30th, 28th, and currently 26th. I realize the players have to make plays but you can't ignore that's he's never shown an ability to stop the run. I'm not saying fire him midseason but other options need to be explored.

That's where LaFleur's reference to schematic changes comes in. We shall see. What are they going to be exactly? I don't know. He wanted continuity with the players in the same system for a third year and was counting on scheme knowledge and the ability to play faster to improve execution. The results haven't been there, and it's on the coaching staff as a whole to find a way to get them.

James from Monument, CO

"If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it's probably a duck." Cliches aside, for the past 21 games, the Packers' defense has taken fans on a weekly "rollercoaster ride" of inconsistent play and performance. Perhaps there will be an epiphany of some sort and the defense will start to play and perform consistently, but I'm afraid the historical record says different. It must be frustrating for the coaches and players. It sure is for fans.

I can appreciate that, and LaFleur's frustration was pretty clear last Thursday night. But he also knew his offense did nothing to help his defense as the hole became insurmountable. He wasn't laying all the blame at the defense's feet, as maddeningly inconsistent as it's been.

Tom from Highland Village, TX

Hi Mike. Great article by Cliff on Mike Holmgren. Of current or recent players, how would you rate their chances to get in the Hall of Fame? Aaron Rodgers is a lock. What do you think about David Bakhtiari and Davante Adams? Any other longtime Packers have a realistic shot?

Those are the guys on my radar at the moment, in addition to Sterling Sharpe via the senior committee route (and Julius Peppers, but the Packers won't "claim" him as one of their HOFers). Cliff made a superb case for Holmgren's candidacy. For players, All-Pro honors are the first accolade I look at because those signify being recognized as the best of the best in any given year. Adams has three selections, all first-team, with perhaps more to come, so I think he's on his way. Bakhtiari has five nods (two first-team, three second-team), which is among the most at offensive tackle in this era and should get him in the discussion.

Dennis from De Pere, WI

With Bakhtiari out long term, do the Packers owe it to Elgton Jenkins to use him at left tackle after putting incentives in his contract at that position?

The Packers have to do what's best for the Packers, and as Wes noted, that position group has more depth at tackle than guard. The incentive in his contract is based on earning Pro Bowl or All-Pro honors at tackle, which protects Jenkins pay-wise if he's moved from guard and then excels at a typically higher-priced position. I don't think that clause should be interpreted as the Packers owing him the opportunity.

Randy from Westminster, CO

With Eric Stokes beginning to practice, you have 21 days I believe to put him on the 53-man roster. Does the bye week count as part of that time to activate him?

Yes it does.

Ed from Framingham, MA

As someone who's had an ACL repair, I can tell you not everything goes according to plan. Many people recover well and return to prior levels of functioning. Others, such as myself, have never made it back to pre-surgery levels of functioning. Every time I hit a certain level of activity, the knee breaks down and back under the knife I go. My best to David, it's a miserable, lonely road.

ACL recovery has become so commonplace in sports it's taken for granted at times. It shouldn't be.

Robert from Verona, WI

Seems like the Steelers knew what they were doing when they offloaded Chase Claypool. I think back to all the clamoring for the Packers to trade for him, and once again it seems our front office made the right call. Perhaps the first clue that trading for Claypool was a bad idea was that the Bears did it?

I think the Packers can be thankful the Steelers were counting on getting a higher draft pick from the Bears, and they were right. Sometimes the best trades are the ones that don't happen.

Richard from Greenwich, NY

Good morning, on the radio broadcast of the Lions game, Larry referred to Detroit defense "hair on fire" guys, several times. While GB has many top draft picks and skilled players on that side of the ball, other than Rashan Gary, it seems like that quality is lacking. Clearly, sound technique is a basic requirement, but a good dose of intensity is also an important ingredient.

In addition to Gary, I don't note any lack of intensity when I watch guys like Clark, Douglas, Campbell, Walker, Nixon and others on this defense. Success breeds swagger, not the other way around. Don't confuse lack of results with lack of intent or effort. Detroit's defense wasn't playing with its "hair on fire" in Week 2 when the Seahawks rolled up almost 400 yards and put together a 75-yard TD drive in overtime.

Mark from Homewood, AL

Based on my research, which could be wrong, the term "hog mollies" appears to have originated with former Giants GM Dave Gettleman, and is slang for "big, powerful linemen that ruled the trenches and paved the way for the skill players to shine." I didn't find a definitive reason for the name, but one source claimed that it came from the nickname for the northern hogsucker fish which, in addition to being ugly, was unusually strong for its size. The more you know...

Now I gotta catch me a northern hogsucker next spring. Think I can find one up near Presque Isle somewhere?

Gary from Davenport, IA

Mike, did you catch the Brewer playoff games and what did you think? I think it came down to Arizona bunching their hits together while Milwaukee spread theirs out.

For me it came down to the Brewers' best pitchers not being at their best, a couple of truly bizarre plays, some rotten luck, and plenty of other missed chances offensively. It stinks (and so does the current playoff format), but that's baseball.

Joe from Hampshire, IL

I feel for the Brewers. Pitchers had a chance to get lined up and well rested, hitters were hitting, we had a strong Big 3 pitching staff. Losing Woodruff at the 11th hour had to be a blow to the team psyche, as much as they may deny it and as resilient as they are. With Counsell delaying his decision, and big decisions on Corbin, Adames, and Woodruff, this looks to be a very pivotal offseason.

Many of my thoughts, too.

Marc from Wayne, NJ

Are the Packers a missed FG away from being 1-3 or a fourth-quarter collapse vs. ATL from being 3-1?

Both. Welcome to the NFL. And with that, a short programming announcement – I'll be back for tomorrow's column because Wes is going to take Monday morning's leading up to the game. Happy Friday.

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