Todd from Honea Path, SC
Thank you for posting/replying to my comment. I read Inbox every day and for my submission to make it on here made my Friday exquisitely awesome. It was my third or fourth time sending in a question/comment over the years and the first time posted. Keep being the venting machine for losses and the gathering place for victories for the fans.
Here is your second time, Todd. Thanks for reading. Good morning!
Jake from Athens, GA
Well, for better or for worse, it looks like we're about to learn a few things about our receiver depth. MVS, Allison, Lazard, Shepherd, Kumerow – do you have any theories about who will catch the first TD? How do they match up against the Cowboys' secondary?
The offense has had a full week to process Davante Adams' injury and prepare for this possibility. There's no question this is a big loss for the offense, but it's also a chance for Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison and Jake Kumerow to show they can handle it. Nobody needs to shoulder Adams' load by themselves. It'll take everyone doing their 1/11th to get the job done Sunday.
Daniel from Lakeland, FL
Ever wonder what is "turf toe"? From the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons: "The simplest definition of turf toe is that it is a sprain of the main joint of the big toe. It happens when the toe is forcibly bent up into hyperextension, such as when pushing off into a sprint and having the toe get stuck flat on the ground. These injuries can vary in severity – from stretching of the soft tissue to partial tearing, and even total dislocation of the MTP joint." Ouch.
Allen Lazard recounted to us his own experience with turf toe during his time at Iowa State. My reaction? Nope. No thank you. I want no part of that. Heal up Davante.
Daniel from Liverpool, England
With Adams out, and Rodgers' disinclination to put faith in the other receivers, does this mean Graham has to have a big game? This may be the breakout game we're all waiting for.
It's every player at every position, but certainly Graham figures to be a big part of the offense – especially if the Cowboys' linebackers sell out to stop Aaron Jones and the ground game. I thought it was a positive sign Graham wasn't listed with the groin and quad injuries this week. Hopefully, he can play free and clear Sunday.
Jeremiah from South Bend, IN
Hopefully, Jamaal Williams makes a full and speedy recovery, he is an asset to the backfield. In the meantime, I recall hearing Dexter Williams was perfect for ML's offense and that he was deceptively fast and decisive. I'm excited to see what he'll bring to the rushing attack. Following up on how the offense is still refining the details of the run game (e.g. timing of cutbacks, double teams, etc.), is there an advantage for newer players, like him, who don't have to unlearn the previous system?
I think there are enough similarities between NFL systems that there isn't a real drawback to having to learn and unlearn schemes. However, I do see a benefit in Dexter Williams developing in an offense for which Brian Gutekunst and his front office felt his skills are tailored.
Chase from Fort Leonard Wood, MO
If you can only have one this weekend, would you rather have the defense or offense have a dominating performance?
It would be good for the defense to get its mojo back. You guys know my stance on Thursday night games. Given the short turnaround and the tight rotation Pettine has been using, I don't believe that was the "real" Packers defense. A long weekend and full week of practice should be just what the doctor ordered.
David from Minneapolis, MN
Remember that one time when Dallas played Atlanta without Tyron Smith? Wouldn't that be nice?
That's the world the Packers and Cowboys will be living in Sunday. Dallas made a sizeable commitment last year when it signed Cameron Fleming as an unrestricted free agent. All eyes will be on him and the Smiths on Sunday afternoon.
Brian from Green Bay, WI
In my opinion, a requirement to running the jet sweep is speed and/or agility. Vision would be a close second. Without the quickness, though immensely important, vision doesn't do enough damage. The play is called a "jet" sweep, after all. MVS did well in a few attempts last year. Does ML have a few tricks he's waiting to unleash?
I'd argue the down-to-down success of the jet sweep is more vision than speed. You can't gain 30 if you don't gain three first, but I digress. Matt LaFleur wears long sleeves. This offense still has plenty left to show the league.
Amy from Bayport, MN
An effective run game in Dallas would obviously help keep pressure off No. 12, but changes in the passing game could help, too. Rodgers is averaging 2.92 seconds to throw the ball this year (second longest in the NFL). The Cowboys defense is pressuring QBs on 33.1% of dropbacks this season (seventh highest in the NFL). What can the Packers do to get the ball out of Rodgers' hand faster to help minimize the Cowboys' pass rush?
Rodgers looked phenomenal against Philadelphia. He's obviously legendary at extending plays but there's also an element of invincibility when he's playing in rhythm. He did that against the Eagles and the offense was really clicking. Even without Adams, the Packers need to build on that against the Cowboys.
Ian from Owatonna, MN
The NFL is very unpredictable. The majority of the time, what you most suspect to happen does not come to pass. Of course, the NFL isn't completely random, and what you least suspect usually doesn't come around, either. In light of this, what do you guys in the II most medium-suspect from this game against Dallas?
The Packers break a big return.
Bill from Lenexa, KS
B.J. Goodson hasn't been mentioned much since his arrival in Green Bay. How has he progressed and when do you think we might see him on the field?
Besides special teams, Goodson has played almost exclusively on run downs in the base defense. That's been his role thus far, while Oren Burks continues his rehab.
Bruce from Green Bay, WI
Marcedes Lewis not being used much last year still baffles me. Marcedes can block as well as haul in passes, so why wasn't he used much last year? I am a mere fan but it looks to me he has great footwork when engaged blocking and doesn't draw flags, has sure hands in the passing game and is a stellar teammate. Do you have his career stats? A prediction from the heart: Dallas will be his breakout game this year blocking and receiving.
I think everyone's heart was in the right place in signing Lewis last year, but inline tight end was never a prominent position in Mike McCarthy's offense. This year, the Packers are using Lewis to his fullest potential and not just as a sixth offensive lineman. I think the changes he made to his body, namely dropping 10 pounds, have made a difference.
Dan from Norfolk, VA
Do suspended players count against the 53-man roster? If not, that may be a way to get teams to look a bit harder at repeat offenders and decide if they really want to risk playing a man down for several games.
No, there's a reserve-suspended list.
Brady from Madison, WI
I love all of the recounting of the Flynn Frenzy in 2013. That is one of my favorite games ever, as I was a huge Flynn fan when the Packers drafted him in the seventh round. Something really exciting about that game's highlights is every time you watch them, you understand just how many opportunities had to be presented in order to win that game. And the Packers capitalized on every single one of them. That interception was ridiculously impressive.
That game remains one of the top five craziest I've covered. Flynn stepped up in the second half, but Eddie Lacy also was at his best in that game. Lacy had 31 yards on eight carries before halftime and finished with 21 for 141 and a touchdown. He took over in the second half. You rarely see running backs post those kind of numbers when their team rallies back from a 23-point halftime deficit.
Dennis from Parrish, FL
I still think the Micah Hyde interception on the receiver screen pass to Dez Bryant was one of the most amazing plays in Dallas. His timing was unbelievable. You just don't see an interception that clean on a short pass! We need a win Sunday!
It was such a smart and heady play by Hyde. If those games in Dallas taught us anything, it's that it takes multiple individuals making plays at critical moments to win in that environment. Mason Crosby, Jared Cook, Davante Adams, Flynn, Lacy, Hyde, Tramon, Aaron Jones and Aaron Rodgers himself have all risen to the occasion in that venue.
Mike from Augusta, GA
With the trend of college players transferring at will, and with the new law in California about college players controlling their own licensing rights, do you think we are approaching a time where college players start to dictate to pro teams who they will and will not play for on draft day?
Not on a wide scale. There is opportunity aplenty in the NFL with 53 jobs in 32 cities. I think the league's reach is large enough a player on any team can become a star if his play on the field warrants the attention. Just look at Baker Mayfield in Cleveland and Gardner Minshew II in Jacksonville.
Julian from Gastonia, NC
I try to wrap my head around some comments and analyses. Why are players who have been competing in football most of their adult life unable to follow the basics of gap responsibility and being in the right place when defending the run? Is it really rocket science? How many times must a lesson be taught before it sinks in? One grows weary at times.
I don't know, Julian. Maybe you should go teach them since you're the expert. Small mental mistakes are amplified when there are 11 world-class athletes on each side of the ball.
Patsi from Riverside, CA
We were in Seattle for Thursday night's epic division rival game between Los Angeles and Seattle at CenturyLink. Many pundits this season have opined that defenses have learned from the Patriots in last year's Super Bowl how to shut down Jared Goff and the Rams' offense. That game was a great battle between two field generals marshaling their forces. Goff did his part on that final drive. But only one side wins the war. Kudos to Russell Wilson who virtually won it with his legs.
Wilson has had an MVP-caliber start to the year. He won the Seahawks that game with crisp passing from the pocket and creativity extending plays. I thought Goff played terrific, as well. He made a few expert-level throws to keep the Rams in it. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough room for error to absorb that late drop/INT.
Brian from Green Bay, WI
Clay Matthews has six sacks on the season. My conversation with some buddies concluded a combination of a few reasons. First, he's out to prove he still has gas in the tank after being surprisingly released by the Packers. Second, he has Aaron Donald & Co. pushing the pocket opposite of him. Third, which I don't fully agree with, he's still that dominant. What do you think? And, did you see that penalty Thursday night?
I still think Matthews is a solid pass rusher. I also believe Za'Darius and Preston Smith are a better fit for what Green Bay's defense is doing now under Mike Pettine. Both statements can be true. There doesn't have to be a perceived winner and loser. The thing is fans want to treat players like trading cards and collect as many big names as possible, but sometimes both sides have to move on to move forward.
Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL
I just caught the Z&P Show interview. They have quite a routine going, don't they?
Now they just need an opening act. Maybe Rashan Gary and Tim Williams start doing their interviews together, too.
Gretchen from Kaukauna, WI
Wes's outrage in the podcast on Friday over the bogus roughing-the-passer call on Clay Matthews is such a mood. Matthews just can't catch a break, can he?
I screamed at the television, "You gotta be freakin' kidding me, man!" Only I didn't say freakin'.
Michael from Portland, OR
I thought we were done with these bogus penalties on roughing the passer? Still don't understand why the NFL doesn't adopt the college rules for review and targeting.
That would make too much sense.
Dean from Leavenworth, IN
Another tough RTP call on Matthews Thursday night. I don't think he could have avoided contact with Wilson but he could have made an effort to let up and not knock him down. He didn't. Hard to argue with the flag that was thrown. Does he get it? Players with his talent and experience just can't give the refs the chance to make that call. Assuming you watched, what was your take?
This whole thing started because Anthony Barr drove Aaron Rodgers into the ground with all 255 pounds of his being. So naturally we're now flagging Matthews and Kenny Clark for bumping too hard into the quarterback. YOU'RE TEARING ME APART, NFL OFFICIALS!
Nic from London, UK
...Or at least make it a personal foul if you attempt a hurdle and contact the defender in the head or shoulders? If you want to go for it fine, but there should be a steep consequence for failure given that there is often a very steep physical consequence for the defender on the receiving end.
I know there are a few isolated events where a player was significantly injured but I don't really have a problem with the play. Yes, there's risk involved but it's also a highly athletic football play.
Fred from La Crosse, WI
Comment not a question. I look forward to responses more than II questions to deepen my understanding of the game and help me enjoy the season. Thank you.
No, thank you.
Joel from Green Bay, WI
I'm glad the Packers were able to sign Evan Baylis back to their practice squad. He showed some good things in preseason at TE. The question is, will he be eligible to be listed as a RB now that he's wearing No. 88?
Enjoy the ballgame everybody not named Joel!