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Inbox: If they haven't peaked yet, they have a chance

That level of efficiency is crazy

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Team huddle

Kent from Homosassa, FL

I believe the forecast for Sunday in Miami is a high in the mid-50s. So much for "thawing out."

It'll be in the single digits when the plane leaves Green Bay, and it might be below zero when it returns. It might be a brief thaw, but that's a thaw.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Mike, how is the blizzard of 2022 affecting travel plans to Miami?

The team is still planning on its usual travel schedule, as far as I know, flying out the afternoon before the game.

Glen from Eugene, OR

Franco Harris: creator of the defensive back business decision.

Such a shame to lose him just days before the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception, and when the Steelers are retiring his jersey this weekend. RIP to one of the all-time greats who provided the league one of its all-time greatest moments.

Aaron from Phoenix, AZ

Looking ahead to Miami on Christmas, given the hype over how explosive Miami is offensively, I was surprised when eyeing their season stats. They're a terrific passing team, but appear one-dimensional with a meager rushing attack. And the defense looks below par. This definitely feels like a game that can be won by the Packers and provide a huge springboard of momentum heading into the last two weeks. What is your analysis of the matchup?

I think this is the biggest challenge the Packers' defense has faced all season, and the Packers' offense needs to hit its highest gear of the year.

Daniel from Richmond, VA

I'm getting a "helicopter flying overhead in Vietnam" type of flashback when I see Raheem Mostert on the horizon. But, with The Cheetah running along that same horizon, it makes me glad I'm commenting on II rather than formulating defensive game plans.

I can't think of a game this year for which the Packers had to prepare for so much speed on the other side. These guys can score from anywhere on the field at any time.

Scott from Liberty Township, OH

Though I agree with the Vic adage "players, not plays," seeing a successful schematic adjustment to defend Hill and Waddle seems beyond necessary to win in Miami. What's your guess to how we'll adjust? More press man coverage? Tampa-2 looks?

I addressed some of this in my Mid-Week Chat, so feel free to check that out. The only thing I know the Packers aren't going to do is pick one coverage and run that the entire game.

Mike from Grovetown, GA

I'm intrigued by Kingsley Enagbare so far. I got to see him down here in SEC country and was happy the Packers snagged him. I think much like Rashan Gary, once he learns technique a little better and gets a full offseason we could have two great bookend rushers. What is your take?

I think Enagbare has come a long way in a short time, and getting forced into action due to Gary's injury has plenty to do with that. He's shown a lot of promise. That said, and this is nothing against Enagbare specifically, but I've seen a lot of edge rushers come through here make contributions as rookies before another year or two down the road they're being replaced. It takes a lot to stick in this league at a premier position like edge rusher and I'm curious to see if Enagbare can last longer than many others I've seen in his shoes.

The Green Bay Packers held practice inside the Don Hutson Center on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022.

Dan from Herriman, UT

Mike, don't you think you were a bit harsh with Enagbare's failed tackle on the fourth play of WYMM? He was lined up on the left outside linebacker position and came across the entire field to be the first person to put a hit on Skowronek. Watching it live, I was impressed with how he played that.

It wasn't my intention to be harsh. He read the play well, for sure, and deserves credit for getting to Skowronek before he got any forward momentum going. But 260 pounds against a stand-still receiver, he's got to finish that play, and he knows it.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Given all the post-whistle dustups against the Rams, who is this team's Josh Sitton or T.J. Lang to act as enforcer?

I'd probably vote for Elgton Jenkins now, but I could see Jon Runyan becoming another option down the road, too.

Tim from Olathe, KS

Insiders, MNF indicated we are last or next to last in the NFL in first-and-goal situations. That's shocking considering who is playing QB. This area of the field is typically where a good TE excels, but we do not seem to involve our TE in the offense anywhere on the field let alone at the goal line. Is TE just not a part of ML's scheme or is it a lack of talent?

Targets to the tight ends are down from where they were two years ago, but I don't have a concrete explanation for you. I think how much both running backs are being used as receivers is a factor. As for the goal-to-go situations, the Packers came up empty on four of their first seven this season, which is awful. They had a failed fourth down at Minnesota, Jones' fumble at Tampa, and Rodgers' two picks at Detroit. On their last six goal-to-go's (before kneeling out the Rams game), the Packers have four TDs and two field goals.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

Spoff: "Anytime the ball is in his (CW9) hands with any room around him, everyone inhales and widens their eyes..." I also find this feeling when Keisean Nixon has the ball in his hands. In the past, it always felt like whoever was receiving the kick would run right up the middle into the fray and get dropped. With Nixon, he is not afraid to head east or west before turning north and it usually seems to pay off...especially the way he hits the afterburners! He really looks fast!

Coverage players have underestimated his speed. He has a way to be at a cruising velocity to draw the tacklers to a certain angle, and then he makes a cut and explodes to beat those angles. It's incredible to watch from the press box with the whole field in view.

James from El Paso, TX

It's quite obvious that Keisean Nixon has great vision returning kicks. He sees holes in the coverage that clearly our last returner couldn't see and has the burst to hit them before they close. While he's also proven to be a capable addition to the secondary, could there be a possible way to get him involved in the offense for a few plays a game? It seems like his vision on the field is too good not to take advantage of, beyond returning kicks.

This is starting to take on a life of its own, and while I don't dismiss it out of hand, I'll say two things: If the Packers are going to put the ball in Nixon's hands on offense, they aren't going to say anything about it in advance. And any offensive touch for Nixon is one less for Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Randall Cobb, Allen Lazard, Robert Tonyan … so there's a lot to consider.

Brian from Twain Harte, CA

You have to feel sorry for Matt Ryan. He has had a very good career, however, he will be forever remembered as the losing QB in the greatest comeback in NFL history AND the losing QB in the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.

Up 15 points, eight minutes left, first down on their own 2-yard line, and the Colts threw a go ball deep down the sideline incomplete. That might be the greatest head-scratcher of a play call in NFL history. Ryan threw six incomplete passes in the second half with a lead of 15 points or more. Six. That's a lot of time that couldn't come off the clock due to questionable play calls, decisions and/or execution. Comebacks like that require cooperation from the team with the lead.

James from Chicago, IL

The worst part about the over officiating is teams/players expect the flag. How many times have you seen a WR miss a catch then ask the official where's the flag? Rodgers does it all the time. Throws at a WR being mauled then asks where the PI if the flag isn't thrown? I don't like it. I don't like hoping for a penalty being part of the strategy.

I don't either, but that's nothing new. Teams and players have been doing that a long time. Cris Carter is a Hall of Famer and was king of the hands-outstretched look of disbelief. Defenders never legally prevented him from catching a pass his entire career.

Dave from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning, gentlemen. We agree inconsistent officiating is a problem league-wide. But what will prompt the NFL to address it? The fans have no clout, unless they stop watching which we know isn't going to happen. The players, coaches and owners aren't going to ruffle the feathers of the beast. The media? I don't see most national media organizations having the guts to seriously address it either. So how do the issues get fixed?

Maybe all the gambling organizations from whom the NFL is now collecting serious sponsorship dollars will apply some pressure? Give it some more time.

Greg from Marquette, MI

Hi guys, Devonte Wyatt is starting to show what he can do. That dude can move for his size.

That's never been an issue for him. Holding his own against double-teams is where he hasn't earned trust just yet, but he's learning and the coaches are picking spots for when to use him.

Jeremy from Collegeville, PA

Do you think the Packers will have enough money to re-sign Elgton Jenkins this upcoming offseason?

My guess is they'll make it a priority.

Julius from Providence, RI

"Against the Rams, Rodgers was 7-of-7 for 91 yards during the 13 plays in which the rookies were on the field together, according to ESPN Stats and Information." Wow! Small sample size, but wow!

That level of efficiency is crazy, and will be impossible to replicate as Doubs' snaps increase the further removed he gets from his ankle injury. But those numbers certainly grab your attention.

Matt from Cottage Grove, WI

With the emergence of the rookie wide receivers, do you think that will change Rodgers' mindset in the offseason when considering retirement or coming back for another season?

He has mentioned it will be a factor to consider, but it won't be at the top of the list.

Rusty from Eustace, TX

In response to the "he's just a kicker" concerning Mason Crosby's longevity, he's saved us on more kickoff returns than I care to remember. Exactly how many tackles has he made?

In his pro career, Crosby has been credited with 27 tackles on kickoff coverage in the regular season, plus three more in the playoffs.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

Mason Crosby kicking in 255 games for the Packers is extraordinary! Let's count the number of times he didn't score. Am I using just one hand?

I found five for sure. Three shutouts (two in 2017, one in '18) and two games the Packers scored eight points (at Arizona in '15, at San Francisco in '19). It would take more research than I have time for to see if there are any others.

Richard from Madison, WI

Wes and Mike, you guys occasionally mention the crazy work schedules you have to keep, late nights, long hours, deadlines galore, nothing the same from one week to the next, the relief you feel when you finally get a chance to spend some time at home with family. Do any of those things ever make you wish you'd gone into some calmer, more predictable line of work?

I tried that when my second child was born, leaving the newspaper business, and it wasn't for me. Two years later I landed here and am forever grateful, so any complaints always come with that caveat of context.

Andrew from Burke, VA

I think it's now safe to say the announcer jinx is real. Buck and Aikman said only two FGs greater than 50 yards had been made in GB when it was less than 25 degrees. BAM! 55-yarder from Gay. Then they talked about how the Rams haven't had any TDs to a tight end. WHOOSH! Touchdown Higbee. How do we put a stop to this before someone gets hurt out there? Should we stop giving odd stats to announcers so they just call the game as they see it instead?

"The Packers have never won a road game on Christmas." Of course they've never played a road game on Christmas, but I'm tryin' here.

Chris from Eau Claire, WI

Looks like our wild-card rivals have a tough slate this week. I know the focus is on the Dolphins, but as fans it's tough to ignore. Anything here you'd like to expand on?

The Commanders getting their seventh loss and the Seahawks getting their eighth would be nice to toast to on Christmas Eve.

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

Matt LaFleur has had an incredible amount of success as a head coach. However, he and the Packers have never endured as much adversity under his watch as they have this year. Players and coaches always say that how you respond to adversity is the true measure of a team. If we can somehow make the playoffs, maybe this team is better suited to succeed than the 13-win teams that fizzled out. I know, I know. Just beat Miami.

To me, the playoffs are a crapshoot whether you enter them with 13 wins or nine (or maybe seven in the case of the eventual NFC South champion this year). However you get in, it's a roll of the dice.

Evan from Durango, CO

Spoff rooting for a 7-10 division winner tells me one thing: He's an anarchist. In a pear tree.

Or something like that.

Jeff from Muskego, WI

Do you think the Packers have peaked too late for a run at the playoffs?

If the Packers have peaked, they aren't making the playoffs. If they haven't peaked yet, they have a chance. Happy Thursday.

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