James from Clarkston, MI
I sent this last week but I'll send it again, Aaron Rodgers will have a big game on his birthday.
You heard it here first…or second, I guess. Good morning!
Estillac from Belem, Brazil
And it's December! Tomorrow is Rodgers' birthday. Maybe his present is a run to the playoffs! Let's all believe, guys!
It's a new year!
Justin from Eden Prairie, MN
I feel like the "Rodgers is getting ready to light everybody up" quote from Cobb is a veteran player trying to use the media to spark his team. How often do players/coaches use the media to send a message to the locker room? And does it actually work?
Of course. It happens quiet often. While 2014 and 2016 get the most attention, the fact of the matter is Rodgers, McCarthy and practically every veteran on the roster sends a message to the locker room in their dealings with the media. In Cobb's case, he knows what Rodgers is capable of when the chip starts to build on his throwing shoulder. Greatest is possible with every snap in this offense.
Tony from Eau Claire, WI
Ben from Polk City, IA, had a pretty interesting post about defensive rankings and points allowed from last year to this. To elaborate on Mike's relativity answer, one could just as easily take those same statistics and shift focus to special-teams production and field position from last year to this year. Also, yoga with kiddos? Peace and Love on football cleats? I am continually blown away by his compassionate confidence and his ability to appropriately "flip the switch" on the football field.
I enjoyed spending some time with Alexander and watching how he interacted with the children in attendance. It also was incredible to see the amount of effort he put into learning every kid's name and making sure each child felt valued. It wasn't just a rinse-and-repeat charity event, either. You can tell how much the initiative means to him and how invested he was in the kids having fun.
Cid from Orlando, FL
Loved the article on Jaire and the Boys & Girls Club kids. Sounds like everyone had a great time that night and that Jaire is passionate about giving back. But why no pictures of Wes doing yoga?
Uncontrollable laughter would have ensued and I didn't want to distract the children from what they were supposed to be doing.
Drew from Rogers City, MI
Thoughts on the Adams vs. Pat Peterson matchup?
Getcha popcorn ready.
Jim from Chelsea, WI
People are understandably talking about all the ifs and whats for the Packers to make the playoffs. I just want them to win the next game.
As I mentioned to Spoff this week on "Packers Unscripted," these next two games will define Green Bay's season. Get a pair of victories against dome teams in your own stadium and the Packers suddenly are riding their first winning streak of the season into Soldier Field.
Jeffrey from Seminole, FL
I know we have different looks on defense, but do you think the Packers would be more inclined to switch to a four-man front if linemen are rated higher in the draft? Seems like the best defenses are the ones that pressure with four linemen, if not don't we need to spend a few picks on linebackers.
Pass rushing is pass rushing at the end of the day. The Packers already had some of those concepts in place earlier this season before Muhammad Wilkerson's season-ending ankle injury in Washington. They also rushed Reggie Gilbert and Nick Perry out of three-point stances at times this year.
Jennifer from Madera, CA
Why have we made so many drastic roster changes this year? We didn't recruit people we should have recruited and traded people we shouldn't have traded, on both sides of the field? What's the deal behind the crazy moves made this year?
The Packers found a trade partner for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, but otherwise most of the moves have been a product of injuries. I wouldn't say they've done anything too crazy. None of these moves were made hastily. As the current depth chart shows, players come and players go over the course of a season. It's also opened doors for rookies such as Alexander and Equanimeous St. Brown to see major snaps, too. It's all part of the process.
Judi from Caledonia, WI
Thanks for the article on Jaire Alexander. Here's to wishing that guy never changes. He's a joy to watch during the games and love his playful locker room interviews. Also, he is one tough, confident, and competitive kid. Great pick, Mr. Gutekunst.
By all early indications, Alexander is the real deal. He possesses the playstyle and temperament required to play at this level for a very long time as long as he stays healthy.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Wes, who is your player to watch against the Cardinals?
I actually picked Alexander because of how important turnovers are going to be in this game. Josh Rosen is a promising, young quarterback, but he's also had nine interceptions and two forced fumbles in Arizona's last six games. The Packers' defense needs takeaways and this is the perfect time for Alexander to come up with another one.
Robert from Glasgow, DE
Aaron Rodgers is getting criticized for everything: throwing too many away, throwing too much to the sidelines, not using the middle, taking too many sacks, not being as accurate, and forsaking fundamentals in throwing. I think the man's injury has been a large factor in all the above for most of season. I have to admire him going to battle. What is your analysis? Thanks for your work.
When you play injured and win, the narrative is always about how much of a gamer that individual is and toughing one out for the team. When you don't win, however, the focus shifts from grittiness to nitpicking what's wrong. That's just how the news cycle works. If Rodgers plays well Sunday and the Packers win, we'll all move on to the next headline.
Abz from Riverton, UT
Please play Kumerow and Tonyan.
Brent from Tacoma, WA
How would you grade Josh Jackson this year? I haven't heard his name a lot other than the Week 2 punt-block TD.
I think Jackson has been fine. He's had the normal ups and downs you'd expect with a rookie cornerback. What's impressed me the most this season is how he's shattered the perception he's only a boundary, zone cornerback. Jackson displayed his versatility this year. Now, it's just going to be building on it.
Eric from Oshkosh, WI
Regarding onside kick rules, perhaps the league should force teams to declare that an onside kick is coming (kind of like an extra point vs. two-point conversions). When they do a running start is allowed, but the receiving team can align themselves however they like. Either that, or just return to the original kickoff rules during the last two minutes of every game.
That's not a bad idea, though I've personally enjoyed the lingering threat of a surprise onside kick. Mike McCarthy and Mason Crosby have been masterful with those over the years.
Larry from Chippewa Falls, WI
What? No comments on the refereeing Thursday night? Obvious helmet-to-helmet, not one official sees it. Then a knee goes down and the player lunges at least two yards for a first down, again nobody sees it. Both go for Dallas. Just saying...
Awful. Just awful. The hit on Alvin Kamara was one thing in real time, but then you realize how egregious it was on replay with the referee staring directly at the play. Not sure what he was looking at. Ball placement also has been an issue this year, in my opinion. This season is the most I can remember turning to Spoff and making comments about where the ball is placed. Thursday night was just another example.
Steven from Silver Spring, MD
The Cowboys held Drew Brees to just 10 points Thursday. Aikman's analysis for the surprising outcome was to highlight how pressure up the middle prevented Brees from adjusting in the pocket and getting clean looks. Same story as what has been said about us in the struggles with passing. How have teams countered pressure up the middle in the past? This can't be the first time that AR12 and MM have seen this, correct?
There are many ways to do it – keeping an extra body in the backfield, stretching the defense horizontally, and getting the screen game going. I also want to point out this isn't only an issue the Packers are dealing with. The NFL, as a whole, has placed an emphasis on interior pressure. Just look at the seasons Kenny Clark (six sacks) and Blake Martinez (four sacks) are having.
Tom from Vista, CA
Defense wins Super Bowl. Does that still jibe with the 2018 game? It seems like this year's team is sailing against the wind.
Offense may have won last year's Super Bowl, but defense would have won it faster.
Kory from Juneau, AK
When are the Packers going to retire Zeke Bratkowski's number?
Right after they retire Lynn Dickey's.
Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL
If anyone needs a recent example of a team "dead in the water" resurrecting itself, look no further than the 'Boys. I hope our loss to Washington doesn't come back to bite us. Which team should we cheer for on Monday night, or would a tie be best?
That's hard to say right now. My gut says it probably doesn't matter either way. Green Bay has to hope the NFC East only gets one team into the playoffs, so maybe a Washington win is better? However, it's also possible it nosedives with the absence of Alex Smith and the Week 3 loss has no bearing on the playoffs. Only time will tell.
Gretchen from Green Bay, WI
How crazy is it that Wisconsin's MVP-caliber triumvirate all have birthdays this coming week? Aaron Rodgers' birthday is on Sunday, Christian Yelich's is on Wednesday, and Giannis Antetokounmpo's is on Thursday.
It's a sign!
Rod from Chugiak, AK
Usually waking to coffee and II, but this morning jolted violently up, being atop the quake epicenter, crap crashing down off shelves and breaking, and my wife crying out, "Oh God, save me! Save me!" Now sweeping up broken glass after riding out aftershock after big aftershock. I think of that '70s San Andreas Fault song, "Day After Day (It's Slippin' Away)." Kinda like our 2018 season. Hoping this Sunday starts the cleanup. Uh-oh, here comes another one. We're on bedrock, sounds like a train coming.
Stay safe, Rod. I definitely was thinking of you and all of our Alaskan readers on Friday.
Nate from New Berlin, WI
You have to build an entire football team (players, coaches, GM) through a fantasy draft of all current NFL players personnel. What round do you pick your head coach?
I'll say seventh. I'd probably go quarterback, left tackle, edge rusher, cornerback, receiver and running back first. It doesn't matter how good the jockeys are if you don't have the horses.
Glenn from Mechanicsville, VA
Is there a football resource available that would allow fans to see how and what their favorite players are doing after their football careers have ended?
Have you tried Google?
John from Port Edwards, WI
Wes, can I get a shout-out to the 20 members of the Insiders Inbox FF league as we head into our final regular-season game? A special one to Brett from GB who pulled me back into FF after not playing last year. All it took was a 20-team league to bring me back to witness something special that my 23 years of previous FF had not seen, which was a perfect regular season. Well, Brett can still spoil that by giving High Five his first loss.
Wait, this is legitimately a real thing? Enjoy the ball game, everyone. To those of you going on Sunday, stay warm.