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Inbox: How high is he going to put the mark?

The early favorites have their share of challenges on the schedule


Steve from Mukwonago, WI

Mike, you missed, or did not address, the Seinfeld reference in the question submitted by Keith from Sheboygan on Tuesday. Jerry (Keith) just wants the admission of guilt from the dry cleaners (referees) that they shrunk his shirt (that they made a mistake)!

Shame on me.

Kristen from Surprise, AZ

Wes, your tribute to your grandmother on "Unscripted" was great. She sounds like she was a special woman. Thank you for reminding us how precious family is.

Hands down, that was my favorite moment on 300-plus episodes of "Unscripted." Wes wanted to close the show, and he closed it beautifully.

Drew from Rogers City, MI

For years the Packers have had a receiving corps that together has had impressive numbers, but individually, not so much. However, Davante Adams is quietly on pace for 118 grabs, 1,360 yards and 13 TDs. Not to mention his NFL record 10th consecutive road game with a TD catch. Could this be the season GB has a monster year out of a SINGLE receiver?

Certainly could be, and kudos to Adams on his production, given defenses are matching their No. 1 corner on him almost exclusively. I still think overall the offense will be better with the statistics more spread out, but Cobb and Allison have to stay on the field, and Graham needs to snag some touchdowns.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

C.J. Beathard put up over 300 passing yards this week. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this quarterback and the San Francisco offense?

Leave it to Lori. Her submission at 5:56 p.m. Tuesday was the first, and quite frankly, only question about the 49ers. The Inbox can't move on if the Inbox won't move on, you know? In watching the San Francisco highlights last week, I saw a QB in Beathard who likes to throw a lot of screens to his backs and tight ends. He also has some ball security issues in the pocket. Tight end George Kittel is their most productive pass-catcher and it's not close. Young running back Matt Breida looks pretty dynamic, but he hurt an ankle so we'll see what the injury report says.

Nate from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Why does the visiting team stay in Appleton instead of Green Bay?

Because Green Bay hotels rely on the higher prices and multi-night minimums on home-game weekends to succeed. Any local hotel hosting the visiting team would lose money.

Gary from Belle Mead, NJ

Following up on what Spoff said about the late call on the muffed punt, I recall when instant replay's automatic reviews were put in place thinking this was going to change how officials officiate the game on the field. So many times it seems the ruling favors the call which will be automatically reviewed. Problem with that is if it's wrong but there's no camera angle to prove it's wrong, then it stands. Do you think there's a better way?

Several other readers wondered the exact same thing. It goes back to how much weight the league wants to give the call on the field. Right now, that call still takes precedence, but I've asked the question before – would a more common-sense approach be to just call it how you see it on the replay, since that's a better, more complete look than anything the official on the field had? I don't know, but I suspect the league doesn't want to diminish the power or relevance of the on-field officials any more than replay already has. I do think officials are, correctly in my mind, inclined to let potential turnovers play out rather than blow them dead, at which point they can't be corrected if they're wrong. But in the case of the King play, the Lions would have had every right to challenge, because it wasn't a down-by-contact situation. So I don't think the penchant, if we want to call it that, was a factor.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

After watching the punt-return replay and being honest, I thought it wasn't enough to overturn the call on the field. But isn't there a rule about the touch not counting if a player is blocked into the ball? That was borderline too, as King seemed to be in the process of disengaging.

No such rule. Getting "blocked into" only applies to running into/roughing the kicker or fair-catch interference.

Ryan from Menomonie, WI

Have you watched George Carlin's baseball vs. football? Very interesting. Explains some of the emotion in this forum maybe?

That's a classic bit, but I think most of the emotion in this forum is simply human nature.

Curtis from Lawton, OK

This might be a hot take, but when you're a second-half team who often plays from behind, why not receive the opening kickoff and try to start fast instead of deferring?

Maybe that's the approach the Packers will begin taking. We'll see. Whether you take the ball first or second, the offense still has to execute. Green Bay's defense has opened the last two games with stops.

Tim from Fruita, CO

Insiders, there have been a lot of questions about why there hasn't been more utilization of multiple-tight-end sets with the experience the Packers have at the position. I'm sure some of it is indeed because game plans get thrown out when you're being blown out. Even early in games, though, those sets seem to be absent. I'm choosing to believe there is a good coaching reason for it. From your perspective, is there something you have seen that makes those decisions make sense to you?

For me to venture into the realm of game-planning would be the height of tomfoolery. The film viewed and data digested by the coaches who build those plans exceeds any knowledge I have by a factor of a gazillion. What I will say is game plans are built situationally – normal down-and-distance, third down, red zone, short yardage, etc. If the situation doesn't present itself at an appropriate time or often enough, elements in the plan won't get called.

Nicholas from Portland, OR

There was a situation that bothered me in this game (amongst others). Fourth quarter with roughly four minutes remaining. We're down 11, driving, get to about the Lions' 30-yard line, but have a play called back for players not being set. They showed a quick replay at the time and one of the commentators disagreed with the call, which negated a first-down pass to Graham. Moments later the drive stalls and we're settling for a 56-yard field goal attempt. Was this a blown call?

I thought so, but not every official's "one one-thousand" is the same length.

Austin from Cambridge, England

Remember when everyone was all excited how New Orleans was demolished that first game and we were going to end up with a top-10 draft pick from them? Yeah, they are 4-1 now. At least we still have two first-rounders!

I looked up my answer to the question about the Saints' draft pick on Sept. 10: Does anyone remember 2003? The Patriots lost to the Bills in Week 1, 31-0. New England went 14-2 and won the Super Bowl. It's a long season.

Corey from Whitehall, PA

Congrats to Drew Brees in getting his record. Do you think history would be the same or different had he never left the Chargers? Also, what are Rodgers' chances to steal the record? I feel like it's tough because he missed a lot of games over the years.

I apologize for not addressing Brees' tremendous accomplishment in Tuesday's Inbox. Due to schedule adjustments and other commitments, I had to finish the column before the Monday night game. Hats off to Brees. Yardage-wise, I'm not sure how much it would have mattered where he played. As I said on Tuesday's "Unscripted," (though I think I got the number wrong), I remember watching the Purdue-Wisconsin game when Brees set the NCAA record with 83 pass attempts. He was born to throw the football anywhere and everywhere. As for Rodgers' chances, he'd have to throw for 4,000 yards per season until he's around 43 years old to crack 70,000 and get close, and who knows how high Brees is going to put the mark. It's a tall order.

Jeremy from Evansville, IN

The way I see it, Coach would love to give Jones the ball more often, but it's hard to keep a running back on the field who struggles in passing situations and you're down by 24 points at half. Also, by my count in the first half, Rodgers spotted them 10 points on turnovers, the kicking unit left nine points on the field and the return team gave them seven points. That's a 26-point swing in the first half, and if you just have half of those back, we'd be able to run the ball more.

That's a pretty good summation. I also addressed this **in my mid-week chat**.

Tyler from Riverside, CA

I really like the idea of throwing checkdowns to running backs. It seems great offenses do it all the time.

A collective five catches for 61 yards by the backs in Detroit wasn't bad, and that was without at least two screen attempts that were unsuccessful.

Bob from Melbourne, Australia

Spoff, living with sycophantism would be very wrong. Sycophancy, on the other hand, would reinforce your wisdom and your greatness.

So I got that going for me, which is nice.

Richard from Madison, WI

Sure, the Pack's record is a disappointing .500 so far. But let's look at compared to what. Five weeks in, and there are zero winless teams and only the Chiefs and Rams are undefeated. Everyone else is clustered in the middle. Even last year's Super Bowl teams are a combined 5-5. It looks to me like this is still anyone's league for the taking, with odd bounces, the weather, and head-scratching referee calls making the difference more often than not. Isn't this basically good news for the Packers?

In the AFC, with a first-year starting QB leading the current top team, anything can happen. In the NFC, it's hard to argue the Rams and Saints aren't staking an early claim to favorite status, but both have their share of challenges on the schedule, including a game against one another in less than a month. Get back on track, play 'em one at a time, and see what happens.

David from Minneapolis, MN

Longtime reader, keep up the great work. Can you please just direct anyone calling you guys homers or stooge employees to your "Packers Unscripted" from Monday? No one should be able to listen to you guys throw out mountains of information and be quite critical about the Packers' performance and still continue to believe you are homers. It was a refreshing podcast that echoed many of the collective fan frustrations.

Thanks for listening. We're not going to call for anyone to be benched, cut or fired. That's not our purview. If that's all that counts as an analysis or critique these days, our coverage is not for you.

Amir from Milwaukee, WI

Leave it to Nic from London to make an astute analysis of American society.

Outside perspectives help us learn.

Matt from Chicago, IL

Sitting in the NICU holding my day-old son, our first. This is the most perspective I've had in my lifetime, and it's wonderful. I'm excited about taking him to his first game at Lambeau, walking through the concourse and finally out into the bowl to hear all the sounds and see all the sights. Football is a game, and losing isn't fun, but there's plenty more to it than that. Thanks for keeping me entertained while feeling like I can't move for fear of waking the little guy up.

Congratulations and hope all is well. A good thought to get us through Wednesday. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy every moment.


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