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Inbox: In Green Bay, that light never goes out

Maybe there is some magic still left in the 8-ball

QB Aaron Rodgers
QB Aaron Rodgers

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

I don't know how you two do it. These late games mess me up for several days. I normally hit the rack at 8:15. Do you guys struggle to recover from the night games?

It's not easy but I tend to bounce back quicker than Spoff. The Prince of Platteville needs his rest.

Mike from Cascade, ID

Hi II, the tributes to John Madden were great. I've always felt that he was the greatest ambassador to the NFL. I grew up in Oakland and my dad had Raiders season tickets. We enjoyed watching him on the sidelines with his field pass tied to his pants blowing in the wind. I also think that the contribution that Pat Summerall played in their broadcasts gets somewhat overlooked. It was the team of Madden/Summerall that made them so great. There was no Laurel without Hardy.

I don't know about all of you but it sure got dusty in Casa de Hodkiewicz whenever those Madden packages aired. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and John Madden was a big part of the reason why. When I was a kid, there were no Thursday Night Football games. So, it was freaking special when Thanksgiving came around, and Madden and Summerall were calling games. Watching those old clips of players grabbing turkey legs brought me back to my own childhood. Those moments left such a lasting impression on me and cultivated my own love of the game.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

Did Hollins get here Justin time?

If there was ever a sign that we need to play a game…I am excited to see what Hollins can bring to the party, though. He has good length and history playing in this style of defense. More than anything, Hollins brings experience to one of the youngest positional rooms on the roster.

Al from Green Bay, WI

I've heard coaches and players refer to the remaining games as "playoffs" as they know one more loss may functionally end their playoff hopes. How does preparation or execution differ with a "playoff mentality"?

That type of rhetoric sets the tone, especially going up against the No. 1 team in the NFC right now. Again, I don't like saying the Packers have nothing to lose because they very much do but so much also can be gained with a road win over the Eagles on Sunday night.

Sue from Three Lakes, WI

An illness spreading through the locker room. Put it on the pile for 2022. Really, what gives?

'Tis the season. The temperatures drop and out come the tissues.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

Nic from London seems a bit harsh about Gutey not planning for the receivers this year. No GM can plan for every contingency. Saw on the Cowboys telecast yesterday that four of their five offensive linemen had played 95% or more snaps so far this year. Health makes every plan look great or poor.

And one other aspect to this – where were the Packers going to find this fabled No. 1 receiver? They didn't have the cap room to sign Christian Kirk for $22 million/year. Should they have traded everything for one of the top draft picks? Would it have mattered? Or should they have traded draft capital for a veteran receiver? But even then, no one was going to be able to singlehandedly replace Davante Adams in this offense. Adams wanted to be closer to home. The next best thing Green Bay could do was get picks and build the receiver room for the future.

The Green Bay Packers held practice at Clarke Hinkle Field on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

I don't think the lack of a true "WR 1 or 2" should be considered a failure. While risky, they still have weapons to lean on. The Chiefs fall in a similar category, yet score about 30 points per game. Juju Smith-Schuster is having a comparable season to Allen Lazard, and they lost Tyreek Hill. They also don't seem to have a RB as dynamic as Aaron Jones. They do, however, lean on their all-world TE, Travis Kelce, and haven't had to shuffle their offensive line.

I just don't even know what to say to this WR1 narrative, which is why I didn't originally answer the question. Labels don't matter as much as production.

Roger from McGrath, AK

I understand that early in the season the waiver claim order mirrors the draft order but after a certain date, it's based on the current standings. Could you please confirm or correct my understanding and when we claimed Hollins, where were we in that waiver claim order?

It's worst to first using records from the previous season until the completion of Week 3 of the current year. Based on its 4-7 record, Green Bay had the No. 12 waiver request entering Week 12.

Stu from Mesa, AZ

Have to disagree with Spoff on the assessment of why the Packers won't let AR12's thumb heal. After almost 100% of the offseason and preseason snaps, and a game and a half of regular-season action, Jordan Love has failed to impress. I believe the Packers are hiding him to keep his trade value from falling any further than it already has. If they really believe in Love, why do they fear such a drop-off if he plays?

Stop. If your analogy was remotely correct, then it would be all the more reason to play Love right now. But here's the thing, Stu. This isn't Denmark High School. We're not talking about Tommy Ferfecki whose mom complains to the coach if he doesn't get enough playing time. This is a business, and these guys are all professionals. Aaron Rodgers is the reigning NFL MVP, and the Packers are still alive in the playoff chase. It's his ball. Nobody knows that more than Jordan Love.

Tony from Rome, Italy

Hi and hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving! If Rodgers remains a Packer in 2023, do you think that drafting a TE in the early rounds is imperative? I thought the bigger problem was with TE than WR when the Packers couldn't make a trade. The rookie class of WRs has potential, but I think Rodgers could have used a TE who could block and make those important catches to avoid the many three-and-outs the offense had, which put more pressure on the defense. Do you see a great TE draft pick for 2023? Thanks!

I couldn't give you an answer on how strong the tight end class will be in 2023. I do know it's often hit-or-miss when you draft a tight end that early. T.J. Hockenson is a good pro, but the Lions got a lot less back from Minnesota than the No. 8 pick they invested in Hockenson. At the same time, Marcedes Lewis is 38 and Robert Tonyan is an unrestricted free agent in March. The Packers' plans at tight end likely depend on the future of those veterans.

BJ from Carlisle, IA

Hey guys, while watching some sporting event from a Middle Eastern country, I noticed when they are subbing the players out, they put up a graphic saying how far the exiting player traveled during the match. I saw one as high as 8 km. I was wondering if anyone has ever tracked say a wideout or safety to see the distance they travelled during a game and if so, how that number would compare to a striker or defender. My guess would be half as far but don't really know. Thanks guys.

I feel like we asked Davante this years ago, but I'll be darned if I didn't forget the answer. I doubt it's as much as a soccer player, but I believe it's a fair distance traveled, especially considering the explosive increments.

Bruce from Jackson, WI

Mike and Wes, I and every II reader enjoy both yours and our fellow Insiders' comments and feedback. Many in the II have been following the Packers since before you were born and could offer much to the group. This isn't a criticism but a suggestion that you be more inclusive and open to everyone's ideas. Select more new or original submissions than the weekly repetitions. Finally, starting a response with "I couldn't disagree with you more" doesn't facilitate conversation. Overall, two thumbs up! GPG!

I couldn't disagree with you more.

Joe from Pittsburgh, PA

Packers fans have become spoiled by success and the cascade of boos last week at halftime was inexcusable. I go back to 1968 when we officially were eliminated from a chance for a third straight Super Bowl. Time was running out, the Colts had us 16-7, and at the two-minute warning, the entire Packer crowd rose to their feet for a thank you standing ovation for an awesome run of success. Now spoiled brats boo a Hall of Fame QB off the field on national TV. Times have changed, sadly.

Wow, I'd never heard that before.

Dwight from Brooklyn, NY

II, it appears that my email to the NFL office in Manhattan reminding it that the other 31 teams exist only to lose to the Packers got lost when its server mysteriously crashed this past summer.

IT is working on it.

Brian from Columbia, MO

I remember back in 1991 when the Vikings went 0-8 for the first half of the season then won the next eight. It can happen. What's the worst regular-season record for a Super Bowl team, I wonder...?

The 2011 New York Giants were 9-7.

Jeremy from West Allis, WI

It looks like the Patriots can join the Packers in the category of teams victimized by inconsistent officiating. At least the Packers aren't alone, I guess. Still, congratulations to the Vikings are in order on a great season thus far.

Whatever you make of the officiating, the Patriots didn't help themselves, either. New England was still too inconsistent, particularly on special teams, to overcome the litany of explosive plays the Vikings made.

Dylan from Amery, WI

That was a catch by Hunter Henry.

In 1995? Yes. In 2022? No.

Steve from Ashland, WI

Or receivers should get the same benefit as runners. If they have possession of the ball and break the plane of the goal, touchdown. Get rid of this ridiculous and unnecessary complete-the-process step. Have the ball in your hands, break the plane, period.

I get what you're saying. It does seem like common sense. But in the age of replay review, the NFL is forced to call that an incompletion. By the letter of the law, Henry neither completed the process of the catch with his feet nor maintained possession of the ball through the ground. Love it or hate it, the play was officiated the way it needed to be.

Bob from Kennesaw, GA

I'm not normally a "foil hat" guy, but are we not supposed to notice that the league has decided this is Minnesota's year?

I doubt the New York office is gathered in the boardroom saying, "You know what we need for higher ratings? Kirk Cousins." I understand your frustration but there's nothing shady going on. The ball is just bouncing in the Vikings' way right now.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

A well-respected man once wrote "the track isn't getting any longer." Though it's doubtful that this team was hanging back for the final push, the goal is not completely out of sight. Win one, pass one, win another…GPG

I don't know about "well-respected," but I have seen some wild things happen during my 12 years on the Packers beat. Maybe there is some magic still left in the 8-ball. This team has to go to Philadelphia and find out.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Remember, Wes, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. I will be hoping that this Inbox submission finds you and finds you well. It is time for our Packers to get busy livin' or get busy dyin'.

That's (gosh-dang) right.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

The sky grows dark

The season on the brink

The light not yet extinguished

Do not go gentle into that good night, Packers

Stay the fight, Green and Gold

In Green Bay, that light never goes out. Have a great weekend and enjoy the game, everybody.

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