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Inbox: Iron sharpens iron

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Lori from Heredia, Costa Rica

Happy Birthday Wes! What did you do to celebrate?

Spent some quality time with my family and my son…and wrote Inbox because II is life. Good morning!

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, while Aaron Jones is getting a lot of attention and accolades on this site, no one has mentioned the assertion by last week's TV commentator: "He has one of the best stiff arms in the NFL!"

Jones has everything you look for in an every-down running back. Whatever lingering questions there were left over from last year, I think Jones has more than answered them in his second NFL season. He’s a quick and explosive athlete, but I think it’s underrated how difficult he can be to take to the ground. Along with showing he can elude defenders with his hands, Jones also generates an incredible amount of power for a man of his size.

Tyler from Stevens Point, WI

This may have already been addressed, but I am curious as to how Alexander compares to other rookie corners. How many other rookie corners are placed against opposing team’s top wideouts and performed better than Jaire Alexander?

Much like iron sharpens iron, I can’t think of many rookies who have matched elite receivers as frequently as Alexander this season. To my untrained eye, Alexander and Denzel Ward are the two rookie corners who have jumped off the page in terms of athleticism and natural ball-hawking ability.

Eric from Cary, NC

Listening to Jimmy Graham's interview really made me feel for the guy. Do you think the Bears offer any good matchups for him to perhaps finally get a breakout game? We have a history of receivers/tight ends having multiple-TD games against the Bears since Rodgers has been at the helm.

It’s totally possible. Thumb injuries aren’t easy for pass-catchers, but Graham has done his best to make it work. I really see an opportunity for both him and Randall Cobb in the middle of the field in this game against a Bears secondary missing one of its most consistent performers in nickel cornerback Bryce Callahan, who has really come into his own over the past two years.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

Other than the Packers’ second half against the Bears, have there been other instances within this season that teams executed similar production against the Bears? Are we seeing an Achilles heel in the short passing game?

There aren’t many examples. Maybe Brock Osweiler and the Dolphins? Osweiler completed 12-of-19 passes for 114 yards with a touchdown and interception in the first half before finishing with 380 yards and three scores. Still, that mostly was set up by a strong day for Miami on the ground (31 carries for 161 yards). The Bears don’t give you many openings, so capitalizing when they’re presented is a must.

Michael from Elizabethtown, KY

I know exactly what trick play we need against the Bears. Halfback swing toss back lateral to QB for a deep slant pass. How sweet would that be? Daydream with me will you? Remember it’s not a lie if you believe it.

It’s everything Packers fans have ever wanted all wrapped into a single play.

Dan from Grand Rapids, MI

Insiders, I expect to beat the Bears this weekend as Rodgers is 13-2 (should be 14-1 were it not for a collarbone injury) in his last 15 vs. them. Vic has pointed out that it isn’t a rivalry if one team always wins and I agree. That being said do the Packers get the help they need on a playoff run this weekend? Go Dolphins!

The two biggest things I’m curious to see this weekend are how the Packers play against a legitimate contender in the NFC and how the Vikings respond after the firing of John DeFilippo. There still are two very critical weeks of football after this weekend, but how those two scenarios play out could very well decide who claims the NFC’s sixth and final playoff seed.

Mark from Vincennes, IN

I still do not think that the Bears are that good. Defense, yes they have a good defense but they still do not have a great quarterback. The Bears are coming off a big win and might have a letdown. The Pack with Rodgers has done well at Chicago. I see the Packers winning! Thoughts?

I’ve said this many times, but I believe a lot of parallels can be drawn between this Bears’ team and the 13-3 squad from 2001. This Chicago team Ryan Pace has built is better suited for 2018 and beyond than that one 17 years ago, but the Bears are going as far as their defense takes them this year. That’s why the Packers need a fast start Sunday, now more than ever.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Everyone always talks about the first step in a long journey, but it doesn’t much matter if it isn’t followed up by a second. Go Pack Go!

The Packers need to build a winning streak and get a victory on the road. Both have eluded Green Bay this season. They can kill two avocados with one slicer Sunday.

Matt from Kula, HI

I’m with Mike on turning down sound and/or tuning out TV announcers. Rarely is there any useful or interesting information provided. Back in the day, announcers used to provide necessary down-and-distance and substitute info, but now they often don’t even talk about the play at hand or even the game we are watching. I really wish the NFL and networks would offer games with only the stadium announcer and sounds of the game.

It didn’t really hit me how much I tune out announcers in the age of second screens until I was watching the Chiefs-Chargers game on Thursday night. It dawned on me in the final minutes how I’d actually been listening to music the entire time, while also working on my David Bakhtiari feature for Friday. As referenced earlier, I think there is still a place for announcers in 2018, but you need a reason to listen because the basic facts of the game are now at your fingertips.

Bruce from New Canaan, CT

Does Patrick Mahomes remind you of anybody?

After watching Mahomes extend plays against the Chargers, I agree with Rodgers that Kansas City’s young quarterback reminds him of his younger self. Mahomes made some wicked, wicked plays in that game. He’s fun to watch.

Kevin from Howell, MI

This December reminds me how special Packers fans are. I'm sure there are fans of this caliber around the league, but the Packers seem to stretch across states, nations even, and generations. As a Packer fan who has only ever known Favre and Rodgers at the helm, what brings these fans in besides a winning team? It would be nice to be reminded of exactly how nice it is to be a Packers fan this season. I've only lived through minor droughts in success.

One of the national writers (I apologize I can’t remember which one) tweeted after the KC-LA game how Kansas City has the best atmosphere for a night game in the NFL, while Lambeau Field is the best in the day. I completely agree about the latter. While I know I get a bit grumpy at times about the wave, it doesn’t get any better than driving to the stadium for a noon game. The energy in the streets is incredible.

Jim from Marietta, GA

How many different DBs have been on the active roster at any point in the 2018 season? How many have started a game? Thanks!

I believe the Packers have had 16 different defensive backs on their roster through the first 14 weeks of this season, with 11 different starters.

Rachel from Minneapolis, MN

Here's an idea, get rid of uprights all together. Just have the crossbar and let the refs standing underneath on each side decide if the ball made it in. There's always instant replay if they get it wrong!

What about a crossbar and two lasers shooting upwards. If the ball touches it, the laser obliterates it. Zero confusion.

David from Oak Hills, CA

I understand the desire to have the Packers play overseas, but as we saw this past season at the Coliseum, there is a huge Packer fan base in So Cal. The last time the Packers played the Chargers in 2011, I remember it being a rain-soaked field in San Diego. Green Bay won a shootout 45-38 in which Rivers went to the silent count and Packers fans filled up the Q. For the rare opportunity to see the Packers play at the StubHub, in an intimate setting, would be a dream come true for any GB fan.

I honestly don’t think you can go wrong either way. London or L.A. Steak or lobster. Intimate stadium environment vs. a possibly once-in-forever chance to play overseas.

Lenny from Frankfurt, Germany

Are kickoffs safer and/or more exciting? What's your take on the new rules so far?

That’s an interesting question, and to be honest, I haven’t really asked anyone what their thoughts have been on the changes. From the press box, kickoffs have appeared safer this year. I can’t recall any significant injuries other than the concussion Lucas Patrick suffered last month. In my uninformed opinion, I’d call it a success given the alternative.

Sam from Janesville, WI

Revisionist and paucity. I had to look those two up. I love when I learn stuff from II.

You weren’t the only one. I thought maybe it was a nickname for Pau Gasol.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

I know Vic always found the Jeff Janis hype train as hard to understand. Is the Kumerow hype train the same train going down a different track?

Time will tell, but technicians often outlast those with pure talent. Janis was the more explosive athlete, but Kumerow is a more polished receiver. That’s going to give him more opportunities moving forward.

Chris from Lake Hiawatha, NJ

Another point against giving extra weight to the call on the field is that since certain plays are subject to automatic review, there is a tendency for officials to let those instances play out and sort it out on the replay afterwards. If an official calls a fumble only because it's going to be looked at for sure after the fact, shouldn't that second look be the sole deciding factor? The original call shouldn't matter.

Exactly. If you’re going to consult the video, listen to the video. Otherwise, you’re only fooling yourself and confusing the audience.

Tony from Kaukauna, WI

Wes, I need your help! I'm in the fantasy championship and I want your opinion. Do I play Watson or Big Ben this week? I will start whoever you pick. Thank you!

Goodness, that’s a lot of pressure, Tony. Assuming Roethlisberger plays, I think you dance with the one that brought you.

Dave from Comer, GA

Writing stories, answering II questions, taping Packers Daily and “Packers Unscripted,” going to press conferences, traveling with the team, attending the games, sitting in on conference calls, doing "WYMM" and Mid-Week Chat. You guys seem pretty busy during a normal week. Thanks for supplying our daily Packers fix. So...what do you do in your other spare time?

There is no time in the calendar year where I value my free time more than the five or six months between the start of training camp and the end of the season. Luckily, I have an amazingly understanding and selfless wife who has been by my side through this writing adventure for the past 12 years. All the credit goes to her.

Shilo from Murrieta, CA

Hey guys, I haven't had time to read II this season, but I listen to “Packers Unscripted” every nearly episode. No question, just Happy Birthday to Wes! God bless you and your families.

Thanks, Shilo! We appreciate you following the coverage.

Don from Swaledale, IA

I was at the first Bears game this year and was sitting next to two Bears fans. With 1:08 left on the clock, I turned to them and said, "1:08 left on the clock, we're down by six points, we have the ball and we have Rodgers. I like our chances.” At the end of the game I almost felt sorry for them. As long as we have Rodgers, I like our chances.

So do the Packers. Now, let’s watch and find out if there’s a little more magic left in that chilly Windy City air.

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